Monday, May 31, 2010

{May 31, 2010}

Dear Family,
Well how are you all doing? I am doing pretty good. Alright to the point. We are teaching a lot of people and we have 4 people with baptismal dates. We have Istamir and Tersinha who are a couple, and she needs to get divorced and married to him to be baptized which could take some time (hopefully not) but they are like super strong. They are basically already part of the ward, they come to all the activites, have lots of friends, and last night we stopped by their house and Istamir was reading the bible. How awesome is that. They are perfect and just need to be married. They have 3 children Ticiane who is 13 and Stephanie who is like 9 and Istamir-filho who is like 5. Ticiane and Stephanie were already baptized recently, which is awesome.
The other 2 investigators with baptismal dates are Cláudio and Mikael, a father and son respectively. The first day we were here in Jerusalém we talked to them on the street. They were already talking to a member boy so that was convenient. He really likes the Book of Mormon. They have yet to come to church though so it will have to be 2 or 3 weeks before they can be baptized.
It is interesting how we mark a baptismal date. We usually have the responsibility to do it in the first lesson. We testify that if the Book of Mormon is true then Jesus Christ is our Savior, José Smith was His prophet, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Kingdom of God on the Earth. Then we ask them, when they receive an answer that our message is the truth, if they will follow the answer and be baptized.
Well what else happened this week that is interesting. Yesterday I had my 5 month anniversary! That is exciting. It is a time to reflect, see what I am doing good, see what I need to improve, and only 19 months left to work. Holy cow these 5 months have gone too fast. My mission is practically over. Just kidding.
So the streets are being decorated with yellow and green for the world cup. Seriously we are going to find out this next week if we will be able to watch it. For me it is like obviously not, but all the Brazilians say the president will let us. It will be insane. I bought my first Brazil futebol shirt today. It is pretty legit. Ahhhh Brazil.
My companion and I work really well together, but he is having problems. He talks a lot about home. He is the only member in his family. Everytime he calls home for Mothers Day or Christmas his parents ask him to come home. They dont write him emails but they do write him letters sometimes. He has asked to come home several times but the president has always just worked things out with him. We went to the office last week for him to talk with the president about some things and the president talked to me too and said I really need to help him in everyway that I can. He is really a great person and is super strong, he just needs what the gospel has and he cant afford to give up.
Well in my study I have been reading the Book of Mormon and the October 2009 conference Ensign mainly these two things and Preach my Gospel. One thing that I have enjoyed doing is asking why a lot. For example in 1 nephi 7 why did Laman and Lemuel try to kill Nephi, why did Nephi forgive them? I really love reading from the Book of Mormon and I know it is true. Probably the strongest feelings I have had come from the Book of Mormon and that it is a true record that testifies of Jesus Christ. It was written specifically for us and there are many lessons in it. I also love reading the words of the living prophets.
Well know that I am doing well and pray for you guys. I have had such good examples. This week I was thinking especially about Buddy Ray and Grandpa Tanner, without them I wouldnt have served a mission.
Um abraço e um beijão ( a hug and a BIG kiss)
Elder Willoughby

Monday, May 24, 2010

{May 24, 2010}

Dear Mom and Dad and everyone else,
How are you all doing? I hope really good. Well my new area is pretty good. This is the second straight area that I have opened. Opening an area means that the old companionship from the area both left and two new missionaries come, so neither you nor your companion know where anything is. I dont know why the president hates me. I´m just kidding, I am enjoying it, but it is dificult. There are lots of things to tell you guys this week. Well I think I already said this but I live with the LZ´s and they are both Brazilian so this means I live in a house with three Brazilians. Its fun but sometimes I just laugh because I dont know what is going but most of the time I know what is going on. Oh the first two nights were not good because the front of our house is like, I dont know how to describe it. Its like we have a big spot for a huge window but no one here has windows, just bars to keep out robbers. So at night for some reason you can hear every single car and they honk their horns and there are fights and I swear people just stand outside our house and yell just to annoy me. Jking. But anyways the first two days I was pretty sick, but we moved our beds into a room further back so now I sleep really well, and am no longer sick. So one thing that we are doing to open the area is visiting every single less active member in the ward. Everytime we go to an inactive persons house there is someone else there for us to teach which is good for us and good for the ward and good for the Lord. I like to call it the Lost Sheep Project, because I heard someone doing this before and they called it that. One of the inactive members is Ana Cristina. She has 3 boys Jefferson, Carlos, and João Victor and I can´t remember her husband´s name. Anyway we taught her and it went really well and she said she would come to church this next Sunday. What else. One cool thing was that there was a talent show at our chapel that we went to. It was actually not from our ward but we have 3 or 4 wards in our chapel, I dont know. No one was that good but this kid that sang a song in English and he was pretty good. I just remember some of the lyrics were Let me go home/I´ll be home tonight/I´m coming back home. You guys should look it up so I can listen to it when I´m home. Hehe that is ironic and I swear I am not trunky. But I am serious it is a good song he sang.
Well anyway another cool thing is that we are teaching a guy that is trying to stop drinking. He really wants it which is awesome. And surprisingly enough this is the first guy that I am helping with an addiction.
One cool thing is that Elder Porto and I had 28 new investigators which was the highest in our zone. We taught a lot. It was really flippin hot.
Elder Porto is a pretty good guy. He is a Gaucho (you can look that up) and really tall and really skinny. He is having some personal challenges but he is strong and I can help him. We all have challenges. We both are pretty shy people inside, and this has caused me to really become ridiculously animated and outgoing which is a good thing. And I can really feel the gift of tongues here.
Christ lives and He will help you! You just have to come unto him through the five steps of the Gospel, faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Elder Willoughby

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

{May 17, 2010}

Dear Mom,
How are you doing? I hope you are doing really well!! Sounds like you guys had a really fun time in Utah. Congratulations on the good times!! You guys must have trained hard! How is everyone else doing?
Well everything here is really really good. I am doing well and am happy and healthy and everything. And I was transfered! I am now in Jerusalem. It is a ward in the Litoral Stake. And my new companion is Elder Porto. We are taking the place of 2 missionaries that finished their missions here and are going home tomorrow. He is from Rio Grande do Sul which is located at the very southern part of Brazil. He is really tall and I dont know that much about him because I have only been with him for a few hours so far. So we live with the zone leaders and our house is really big compared to my last house.
So this past week, well we taught a lot. One thing we did was help with the mother´s day dinner which was actually this last saturday night and not on mother´s day. Oh and that reminds me it was really good to talk to you guys on mothers day. Ive almost been out here 5 months now!! Time goes really really fast.
Well one more transfer down. THis transfer went really really fast. It was weird I feel like I walked and sweated and taught so much more this transfer but we only had 1 baptism! And my first transfer we had 12 but I feel like I did my best and the Lord cant ask any more than that.
So last week we taught Iracy a lot. She wants so bad to be baptized so bad and she is funny, she cries really easily but she totally will be baptized. She is the one of the ones that needs to be married. They have 3 sons and now all three sons are baptized. If they can get the oldest two to go to church with Iracy and Lucas, the father will go too and he will love it and want to be baptized and it will be awesome!
So some of the things I was thinking about that is funny about Brazil. One thing I like is the Barbecue, they sell bbq everywhere on the streets and a shishkabob type deal is only 1 real. And they have this agua de coco which is like coconut water, and they just cut a hole in the top of the coconut and put a straw in and you have a coconut full of cold pure water with coconut flavor which also costs 1 real. Also good is juice from sugar cane, also 1 real.
ONe thing that is funny is that in every single room in brazil has these things to hang a hammock on. I mean every single room. People are always like, do you guys want to rest a little bit, we have hammocks? ITs funny. I have always slept in a bed, but hammocks are only like 30 reais.
Well I am trying to send a photo of the baptism that we had but the computer is being stupid and I am not sure if it will go through.
Remember to choose the right and read the words of God in the scriptures and always pray!
Elder Willoughby

Thursday, May 13, 2010

{May 12, 2010}

Dear Family,
It was really awesome to talk to you guys last night!! Oh yeah and one thing I needed to tell you was that for a shirt for my companion it can be a medium and also medium shorts. Soooo yeah he is going to give me money to give you guys so dont worry about anything.
Oh yeah and I was also going to ask you if you could email me the mp3s from the CD Eclipse Sacred Praise I think it is called that I had. It might be in one of the cars, I dont know. And if you can find an mp3 online of that Adam Ashby song, How Can I Be? I am sorry that I am asking so much!!!
Soo I am trying to think of what happened this week. Oh yeah and before I forget I think my companion knows Alise (only if her last name is Smith) because he served in Teresina for a while and his name is Elder Lopes.
Let´s see what happened this week. So I got a letter from mom and from Dad which and from Grandma Tanner which is totally awesome. (But she sent it to the MTC address in Sao Paulo, so just tell her my address in Fortaleza, the one with Santos Dumont in it). So thanks to everyone for the emails and letters!
So this week went well so one cool thing that happened was that we were teaching this one old lady on the street on the sidewalk, because that is where we teach half the time, on the street. So we were teacing her and this other lady comes up to us and is like ´´I knew the missionaries before you guys and they always came to my house and ate and taught me´´ so we were like sweet. So we went to her house and taught her and she is like I already know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. And she already knew about everything and she is like I know I have to be baptized. And we were like totally shocked. But she just needs to start coming to church because she has never been yet. So that is aweosme.
Also we were teaching Felipe again and he wants to be baptized but like its hard for him to come to church because like lots of weekends his dad comes and picks him up. So we were teaching Felipe and he was like my friend wants to get baptized. So we talked to his friend and she wants to get baptized. THe only problem is that her mom wont let her. But we havent had the opportunity to talk to her yet so we are going to try to teach the mother. So thats about it and I really am running out of time!!!!

Um abraço pra todos,
Elder Willoughby

{May 3, 2010}

Dear Dad,
Hey thanks for doing that. I will try and do the following. I will try and call you guys with that number Saturday and tell you the time that you can call me on Sunday. Alright hopefully it will be 7oclock on Sunday night Fortaleza time. The number is 085-3235-0829 or maybe you dont need the zero I dont know and it is the number of the Ipanema chapel.
So this week went well. Elder Lopes and I are working hard. One thing we did was have family home evening at a members house with two investigators which went well. We have a lot of investigators that need to get married. We have Janaina who comes to church every sunday with her daughter without us having to wake her up or anything and already is paying tithing. She just needs to get married. And also we have Iracy who comes to church with her son without us having to pick her up or anything. She probably can get married in June. Another marriage that is being planned is that of Jonathan and Darlani. I talked about them in mylast email. Darlani read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and asked God in a prayer if it was true and she totally knows it. So yesterday we were teaching them and I was talking with her and asked her if we could make a goal for their marriage to be next month, and she accepted. I wish it could be sooner but I was definitely led by the spirit in making this goal because that is the earliest they would be able to get married anyway. So yeah they are totally awesome.
Also this past Saturday we had the oppurtunity to baptize Lucas who is the son of Iracy. He is totally awesome. We were asking him the interview questions the day before he was going to be really interviewed and he was like I studied those little pamphlets and he like knew everything perfectly. He is awesome.
Hey well for some reason this week the computer keeps on freezing so I am already out of time but I will call you guys Saturday!!

Elder Willoughby

{April 26, 2010}

Dear Mom and Dad and Family and Friends,
First thanks for all the emails and letters. And I havent got the package yet but people say it takes like a month. Letters take like 2-3 weeks. Oh my gosh and thank you for sending a package, I know it takes a lot of work and especially money to send a package here. And I can receive pictures by email just so you know. I wrote a letter for you and dad today and brother and sister martin that i will send today and i will try to write more next week. Sorry if this is really scatterbrained. I only get to email once a week and i have to remember everything to write.
So that is crazy that Isacc´s mission call says to bring long underwear because if Teresina is anything like here he wont want them but the mission president there probably knows what he is talking about. All the stuff I bought is working out well. I like the pants from Ferrells about 10 times better than the pants from MR MAC. The pants from Ferrells are cool because after you wash them you dont have to iron them. And when i put my sweaty arm on them it like wicks away the moisture. One of my shoes has started to fall apart, but dont worry because if I need shoes they sell pretty nice shoes at the mission office for only 30 reais, which is like 18 dollars.
I really like hearing about what you guys are doing so thanks for the updates.
Alright so Elder Holland was awesome. It was Elder HOlland Elder GOdoy and Bishop Edgley and their wives that talked to us. ONe cool thing was that Sister Holland encouraged us to take our time in praying. First sit in the middle of the room when no one is around. Then think about Heavenly Father for a few minutes, what He looks like, what HIs nature is, and then thank him for everything that He has ever given you, and then at the end ask Him for what you desire for most in the name of Jesus Christ. THen sit and ponder for a while.
Elder Holland was cool, we all knew he was going to burn us, and he did. He talked about how he interviewed us when he shook our hand and that we were all doing alright. He said he was proud of us and then he emotionally encouraged us to keep all the rules in an Elder Hollandly way. It was really neat. Oh yeah and it was cool because I got to see all the Elders from my group like Elder King,Subacz, Birdsall, and Morrow. They are all doing well. One funny thing that happened to Elder Subacz was the following. His first area was Juazeiro which is 10 hours by bus. But he got off at the wrong stop in the middle of the night and somehow he got a taxi that brought him to the right place even though he barely knew any portguese at all!
Alright so my new companion is Elder Lopes, and he is actually from Juazeiro do Norte which is in this mission. He was serving in Belem but because of the Climate he will finish his mission here. He only has 4 months left. He works really hard also. As we have been keeping all the rules I can feel the Spirit work stronger through our teaching.
One of our investigators is Aline. She is really cool because we just found her when we were trying to find another person, and we taught these two women who were washing clothes at this one well. It reminded me of Jacob´s well in the bible and it was really a neat experience. She said that her husband was a member but hadnt gone to church in like 15 years or something. So we came back and taught her with him and it was suuuppppppper cool because we could tell that he remembered his conversion and wanted that for his family.
Oh and another lesson that we taught that brought me SSSSOOOOOOOOOO MMUUUUUCHHHHHHH joy was last night. So there is this 19 year old man who was baptized many years ago, fell away from the church, and now is living with his fiance. But he wants to have an eternal family so like a few years ago he stopped doing drugs and stuff and now he really wants to build his family in the gospel. So we taught him (Jonathan) and his brother Jefferson and his fiance Darlinha. Oh my Darlinha just needs to read a chapter in the book of mormon and pray about it and receive an answer and get married and oh the joy that will enter their lives. oh yeah and afterwards she can be baptized. Seriously that lesson we taught them made me so happy!!!!1
Alright so our apartment is pretty small. It is cool though because it is above a small store and from our porch we can see a lot of Fortaleza and we always see planes coming and going.
So the ward is really good. We always eat reallly good and get referalls and our lunches almost never fall through. We are working really hard here and the past 3 weeks have been really awesome, with just 2 things wrong- Elder Szpack going home and the fact that we havent had a baptism here. But I can see the Lord preparing the people.
Oh flip my time is up but I love you guys. This week I am going to try to buy a memory card reader so I can send you guys more pictures. Thank you guys so much for everything!!!!!

Much love,
Elder Willoughby