Monday, January 27, 2014

So you sound pretty anxious to hear about my new area. I think you will like hearing about this area. It might be a little surprising because it surprised me when I found out. So I'm no longer in Louisiana....haha I got transferred to Natchez, Mississippi. Yeah it's pretty crazy. If you look on a map it's like way out in the middle of nowhere. I feel super isolated out here. My companion is Elder Virgin. He's from West Jordan, Utah. He goes home a transfer after me. There are 2 other sisters out here and that is our district. Natchez is quite an interesting place. It's one of the most historic places in America. I have found out a lot about Natchez since I have been here. Let's's the oldest settlement on the Mississippi river. At one time there were more millionaires living in this city than any other place in America. All the millionaires lived in huge Antebellum houses. So pretty much the whole town is huge, old, Antebellum houses. There are more Antebellum houses here than any other city in America. It's actually super cool. All these houses really make this place feel like a real southern town. Also the people here tell me that Natchez is one of the most haunted places in America. I guess all these old abandoned antebellum houses are haunted. Haha. So yeah this place is quite interesting. There definitely is a different feel about this place. It kinda reminds me of home a little bit because Natchez has a ton of hills. On the 3 or so hour drive up here we drove up and down a bunch of hills. It was kind of like the drive from Show Low to Heber.   Ohh and also I'm in a bike area again. I wasn't too happy about that. This is my 3rd bike area in a row. All these hills are a killer trying to ride up. Maybe it will build up my leg muscles :) So yeah that's Natchez, Mississippi for you. If you look up the town on the Internet it will probably have a lot of stuff about it. Now I can say I served my mission in Louisiana and Mississippi. I'm also now in the Alexandria zone. Now I have served in every zone. The people here are super nice. It's a little ward here. It shouldn't be a ward. It should be a branch because there are like 40-50 members here. I think the people here are the nicest people I have met so far. They are so down to earth. Now that I'm in Mississippi I get some real southern hospitality. I think I will probably like it here. It will just take a few weeks to get settled down and comfortable here. We don't live in an apartment either. We live in a regular neighborhood in a little house. The house is kinda crappy. Inside it's like a cabin. All wood floors and wood walls. We also have 1 little heater so it's pretty cold. The weather here has been super cold lately. There was a big cold storm that came through. And guess what happened? It snowed....yeah just like half an inch. It was pretty sweet. They said it was like the first time in 4 years or something. I'll send you some pictures of it. So the work here is pretty slow too. We have a couple people we are working with but nothing too promising right now. We do a lot of service....shocking. The other day we went and painted this guys house for him. We only got like 2 rooms done. When the weather warms up a bit we are going to go over and finish painting his house. Then I think the Bishop wants us to help him paint his house too. So we will probably be pretty busy with service these next couple weeks. So that's about it for this week for me. Just serving up in Natchez Mississippi. I probably won't see other missionaries for a while.. I don't know if President is punishing me by sending me way out here.. Oh and we are pretty much in charge of the Young Men's too. So you can say we are the Young Men's Presidents. We have young men's with them every Wednesday. It should be fun coming up with stuff to do with them. We have like 3 young men in this ward. I guess there is not enough priesthood for a young men's president. Well that's my week. I hope you guys have a good week. Remember y'all are in my prayers. :)
Elder Willis :) :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sounds like a pretty good week you all had. I'm glad to hear things are going good back home. Well we got transfer calls last night and I am getting transferred. So tomorrow I will be finding out where my new area is and new companion. There are alot of people getting transferred this transfer. I guess President is making alot of changes in the zones and switching alot of things up. Transfers aren't that nerve racking for me anymore because I know so many missionaries now that there's a good chance I might know my companion. I want to go to the Alexandria zone. That's the only zone I haven't served in yet. This will probably be my last area. I'm sad to leave Elder Smith though. We got along really well. Next week I will let you know on what happened. So I will have to look out for that Sister missionary that you guys are talking about and say hi to her. That would be cool. That's funny that Jaden is getting tightly guarded most of the game. That happened alot to me. Suber would always yell at me and tell me to go get the ball. I would end up running around the whole court trying to get the ball. Just tell Jaden to try to get the ball as much as he can. That might help a little. You asked about the meetings I go to on Sunday and in this branch we don't go to any meetings. We just show up for church at 9 and leave when it's over. I think most of the missionaries don't go to very many meetings. They just try to make everything go through the ward mission leader. So my Sundays aren't filled with meetings and stuff. I told you guys about Elder Perkins coming to our mission. The conference we had with him was pretty sweet. He had alot of good stuff to say. I enjoyed listening to him. I could listen to him for days. I don't know if he has spoke in General Conference but if he has he would probably have pretty good talks. Then on Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference and he spoke again. So all that was pretty neat. On Sunday afternoon they got a few of us missionaries to go sing at this Martin Luther King Jr. celebration service. I don't know why they got us to sing because we were the only white people there because it was a bunch of black church people getting together to celebrate MLK day. They had like some baptist preacher there and during his sermon everyone was getting into it. It was so cool to experience something like that. Everyone was like yelling Hallelujah and Amen and all that stuff. We sang a couple church hymns for them. But the real show was the preaching. The black people down here really get into that kind of stuff. Then yesterday we just continued working on the house we are painting. It is taking us a while. We have been doing it for like a week now. We just got done priming half of the house. I won't be here to finish painting it though. So this whole past week was spent doing prep work for the house getting it ready to paint. We did alot of service this week again. That's what my mission is :) So Mitchell already knows his release date? haha.. Umm.. I'm pretty positive I will be flying home July 10th. I think that's a Thursday. I will probably know more here in a few months. It's crazy how fast time goes. Well I will keep you all in my prayers. I love you all.
Elder Willis :)

The Elders taking a break after working on priming a house so that they can paint it.  This is one of the Spanish Elders.
This is a send off for a young man going on his mission.  This was after his farewell at his house.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I hope everyone is doing good. Sounds like quite an eventful week you guys had. Yeah I got the video you sent of Jaden's game. It looks like you can't even have a foot in between the 3 point line and the out of bounds line. Haha. That's weird. So this past week the big cold weather storm or whatever it was got us pretty good. On Tuesday and Wednesday it was super cold. I had to wear like 3 sweatshirts and gloves to bike to our dinner appointment. I think it got below freezing. It was chilly. Then the next few days it warmed up again where I could wear my short sleeve shirt again. There wasn't any snow for us :( haha. I'm surprised it didn't snow in Heber. It has rained here the past couple days though. Right now there's a big lightning storm. It's kind of hard to do anything when it rains. We can't really bike in the rain. So usually when it rains we just try to wait it out. So transfers are next week. I have no clue what is going to happen. I wouldn't mind getting transferred to another area for my last few transfers. Elder Smith and I could probably stay together another transfer. But you never know. I will just let you know what happens next week. So this past week I hit my 18 month mark!! It's pretty crazy that I only have 6 months left. I guess I have officially served a mission longer than Dad. It's weird to think that I've been out as long as Dad served. Yeah I read about the new mission presidents. I haven't heard anything about him but it shouldn't matter because I'll go home the first week he is here. This past week we did a lot of service again. Every Thursday we help these 2 widows out with their lawn or whatever they need help with. And one of them is pretty old and she feeds us every time we go over there. She looks forward to feeding us every week. Well she needed her porch re-painted so we started working on that but we will probably finish it this week. And her neighbor needs her house painted so we are going to paint that too. I guess I will be doing a lot of painting this week if the weather is good. Oh so this week we have a general authority coming to visit the mission. It's Elder Perkins of the Seventy. I have never heard of him but I think he is in the First Quorum of the Seventy. This Friday we are going to have a zone conference with him. So it should be pretty cool to hear what he has to say. Well that was about it for my week. Still not a whole lot going on in this area. Mostly just service. It seems that's how its been for a majority of my mission. Well I love all y'all :) 
Elder Willis :) :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hope you guys had a good week. Sounds like new years was pretty good for you guys. My new years was pretty good. We didn't really do anything. Just some missionaries came over and we played monopoly. That's about it. There were fireworks going off like crazy the whole day. People started lighting fireworks in the early afternoon and it lasted all the way until the next night. I guess they take parties like these seriously down here. Ohhh and you will have to tell Jaden happy late birthday for me!! I can't believe he is 18!! It seems like I was just barely 18. I got those videos that you sent of his game! He is looking pretty good. The one where he went coast to coast was pretty sweet. Sounds like he had a great tournament. I can't believe he didn't get all tournament team. That's ridiculous. I always thought that white mountain sports were kind of a joke...but whatever he probably is better than most of those kids anyways. Yeah there was a bowl game that was down here in the superdome. It was the sugar bowl. I think it was alabama and oklahoma. There was alot of people down here that went to the game. It seems like there is always big things going on down here. The NBA all-star weekend is going to be in New Orleans this year. I want to try and go to the slam dunk contest and all that but I probably won't be able to find a way to go. Maybe I'll just stay outside the arena and see if I can see any of the players haha. So not much happened this past week with New Years...we did go over to a members on new years to have a little party. We had a little fire and made smores and stuff so it was pretty fun. Then I went on exchanges with another missionary down here. So that was pretty much my week. The weather has been really cold lately. Today its like in the 30's we're kind of hoping it is going to snow but it won't. The last time it snowed down here I think was right before katrina. It's been a while. Oh and about hurricane katrina there are still houses down here that were wiped out by katrina. They still have plywood on the windows and there is like a paper thing on the door that says it has been searched during katrina or something. So some areas down here haven't even recovered from katrina. Yeah so on Saturday we had to help this guy take out his storage unit and it took us the whole day. We had to take everything out and then sort it out and put it back in. He is a recent convert and his parent aren't members so we helped him out and then his parents fed us some pizza. I think he wants the missionaries to teach his parents. It's not our area so it will be the other missionaries that teach them. Yesterday for church we had the branch split into an english branch and a spanish branch. It's good to see this branch growing. I guess before hurricane katrina there was like 3-4 wards down here and they were about to make it into their own stake but the hurricane made everyone move out. Now the people are starting to move back in. So it's growing. This week we did alot of service. I think we did like 31 hours of service or something like that. Since there's not very many people to teach we just do alot of service. That's about the best thing we can do down here. Its good though I like doing service for people. I think that could be the best thing you can do for someone is to serve them. Well I don't know what else to say. I think that's about it for this week. I love you all and pray for you.
Elder Willis :) :))