Missionary Dan Email #25 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel at the Portland Temple

Today we got to go to the temple. It is a great place to be and I always feel the Spirit. Today it reminded me of the MTC because our zone came together. It was an awesome experience.

We continue to work hard and the area is doing very well. We found several new people to teach and a few investigators we’ve been teaching came to church for the first time. They enjoyed it. Stephanie has met a lot of people and is progressing very well in the ward. I’m excited to see what will happen at transfers. The roads for my bike are safe and great to ride my bike on.

Thanks for all the support next week will be more exciting to write about.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Daniel at the Portland Temple

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Missionary Dan Email #24 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel's birthday balloons

So after talking to President, I decided to accept his invitation to extend my mission for 30 days. President Greer asked me probably about 3 to 4 weeks ago if my Mom would be upset if I extended. I said she probably would be, but at the same time she’d be fine. So I thought about it for a week or two and I thought that the Lord would be pleased with whatever decision I made.

Then I sent an email to Mom that I might be extending and for my birthday present she should let me. I also thought that more time in the mission field would be a privilege. Either option sounded great to me, but I decided that I’d be happier with staying here a month longer than going home.

So I called President Greer last week and made my decision. He said the reason he asked me is because he’d like for me to train another missionary, and it is better for the new missionary to be with his trainer past 6 weeks. So I am happy to say that I’ll be coming home on December 15. The other details I have no idea. I’m sure President is figuring out the fine details.That’s the best part of missionary work, it’ll all work out eventually. I sent a letter home saying all this, it must not have made it there.

My birthday was great. The presents came right on time (on my birthday) and the hard drive is the best! Thanks everyone. I sent a neat video of using the toy cars and Smarties that I got. I’ve spent awhile putting all my pictures on this hard drive. I think it’s just about done.

This week was a good work week. We had a few exchanges with the other missionaries. It has been fun. My knees are getting tired from all the biking. Since we live a mile and a half outside of our area we put a lot of miles on our bikes. We figure about 20 miles a day. My bike is holding up great too. Well… kind of… for being a free bike it works great.

A follow up on the Relief Society versus Priesthood presentation. I forgot to mention we accomplished the same thing in both presentations. The only difference was in Priesthood it took 30 seconds, in Relief Society it took 13 minutes. :)

All the activities everyone is doing looks like lots of fun. Thanks for your continued support!

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Missionary Dan Email #23 from Vancouver, Washington

Baptism

Stephanie and Crystal were baptized. The Spirit was really strong and was a great experience for them. Elder Hardy said it was “Super duper cool” to baptize Stephanie. It was his first time baptizing someone. Stephanie couldn’t stop smiling at church and it was great that I was able to confirm her. Stephanie’s mom who isn’t active in the church but a member said it was the best decision she ever made and was really proud of her.

We used the opportunity to get the members excited about missionary work. We gave a short presentation in Priesthood Meeting before everyone separated to their classes and asked “What are some of the reasons we do missionary work?” After a long silence one high priest raised his hand and said, “Because we have to.” Then I asked “What stops us from doing missionary work?” and there was a lot more responsive answers.

We did a similar presentation in Relief Society. After asking “What are some of the reasons we do missionary work?” five to six sisters raised their hands and gave awesome answers. They continued to discuss missionary work and reasons they don’t do it. It was an interesting experience. I’ll not comment further on the situation.

There has been many awesome experiences here and they continue to come. We are doing our best. I really enjoyed all the birthday emails. The letters have started to come again too. I noticed that the Ward’s letter had the wrong address, but it still made it to me. My address is 13608 NE 72nd St B14. The mistake was the “3” was a “2”. Thanks again for the great birthday cards. They were funny and the pictures are awesome.

I’ve been thinking about extending my mission for 30 days [after being asked by President Greer] and at the same time thinking about not extending. So I’m going to call President Greer today and make a decision. Next week I’ll let the family know. The President is allowed to extend any missionary for 30 days without Seventy approval. Any longer after that requires their permission and it’s difficult to receive it. The President is curious to see what I’ll do.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Baptism

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Missionary Dan Email #22 from Vancouver, Washington

Old Apple Tree Park by the Columbia River, Vancouver, Washington

Old Apple Tree Park by the Columbia River, Vancouver, Washington

This week went great. We got things all lined up for Friday where we have our two baptisms. That is really exciting for us. Elder Hardy gets to baptize Stephanie and Brother Brown is going to baptize Crystal so it an awesome opportunity for everyone.

We had three investigators drop us this week. It seemed that each of them had talked to a friend and they told them something. They were all really nice telling us not to come back again. Things like we believe in a different Jesus or we only believe in half of a God and Jesus was their mix up. One the investigators, about two hours after dropping us, gave us a call. She expressed how horrible she felt for rejecting us. She said she saw the love we had for the scriptures and how we were like Christ going to the people and visiting them. She also said that someone at her church had told her not to meet with us. She didn’t agree with that and said as she was reading her scriptures she felt she should call us. She apologized and then invited us back, not to share much about our religion, but to share the love we have for God. So we will let the Spirit work with her for a bit longer and stop by.

So as I was writing this email another person called me and said she wanted to discontinue meeting with us. I said we’d give her some time and perhaps stop by later when she figures things out. She accepted and we look forward to still meeting with her.

It has been a testimony to me the opposition that is towards this work, but also how much the Spirit actually does. I know we are servants to spread the message of the Restoration of the Gospel and that we can truly know for ourselves that it’s true. We help others find out for themselves whether or not they want to act on the message we share. I know its true and that’s why I am here sharing it.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Photo Credit: Sheryl Todd

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Missionary Dan Email #21 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel and companion with couple

Daniel (right) and and Elder Hardy with couple

We had yet again another great week. This time its full of exciting things such as baptism! We had one investigator pass an interview and another having her interview this Friday. They should be baptized next weekend.

Stephanie is a investigator that looked up the church online and went to the wrong building and at the wrong time. She remembered going there as a small child and said she enjoyed the services. The bishop there got her information and it was passed to us. I remember her saying on the first phone call she wasn’t interested in converting. I mentioned we would stop by to tell her more about the church so she’d feel comfortable coming and could answer her questions. So she has come to church about four times now and we’ve been meeting with her for that month’s time. We asked her to be baptized a while ago, but since she was living with her boyfriend she didn’t know when she could be. So this week, she is moving out and it opened up the opportunity for her to be baptized. Her boyfriend didn’t treat her with respect so she is relieved to move out. We are so happy that the Lord has helped her to improve her life.

Also we have been working with a less active couple. They had been making their way back to activity and asked us to come over and teach the lessons. We taught them lessons and the Spirit helped them. Now they feel comfortable coming to church. We saw them at the ward BBQ (see picture above).

To top it off four investigators also came to the ward BBQ and they had a great time. We got to play volleyball with them for awhile and they developed friendships with the members.

Daniel on grass painted greenThe weather here has been very dry for about two months now. We hope the rain holds off for a lot longer. It has been nice, but it has had it’s effect on people’s lawns. Since it does rain so much usually they don’t have sprinklers so in the summer it’s common to have a dead lawn. A member’s neighbor wanted to still have green grass so they painted it (see photo below). The member said of the experience, “I went to church in the morning and we both had dead grass, I come home and my neighbor’s grass was green. I thought they don’t go to church and I do, but they get the green grass.” It was funny to hear him talk about it.

All things are well and thanks for all the support. The pictures were great to see, it looks like the festival was fun.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Missionary Dan Email #20 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel ready for Nerf Wars

This week was just as great as last. We were extremely busy and were doing all we could to teach, find, and help people come to church. We were blessed with success and had eight investigators come to church. We are excited for a baptism in about two weeks. It has been quite the effort to find people that are ready, but we should be having more here in the future.

The Spirit has helped us so much it is the greatest feeling. We were traveling down the street on our bikes and we weren’t sure what to do with an extra thirty minutes we had before dinner. Then I had the thought to go to Eric’s house, a media referral we received two months ago and hadn’t been able to contact him yet. We went and he was home. He has a testimony of the gospel and has been going to church with the person who referred him. He is about to move, but plans on being baptized. There was a good spirit about him and I could tell he had made big changes in his life. It was great to meet him.

Our weeks this transfer have been so full of those experiences it has been so great. We got transfer calls and both Elder Hardy and I are staying. Yea! We plan on working just as hard as we have been. I really enjoy being with Elder Hardy.

We had some Nerf Wars last week on Preparation Day. I was well equipped.

It is exciting to hear about the SBOs in the ward. I think we have a long record of them now. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad. Thirty years is ten years longer than I’ve been alive so it seems like that’s been awhile. Thanks for all the support!

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Missionary Dan Email #19 from Vancouver, Washington

Esther Short Park, Vancouver, Washington

Esther Short Park, Vancouver, Washington

This week was a dream come true and it continues to be that way. We had two days in a row that we were so busy we had just enough time to grab a snack for lunch between appointments. I like to have lunch as a back up plan anyway. We continue to find many prepared people to hear the gospel.

Joe is a good example. He is 11 years old and we had talked to him about a month ago and he missed our return appointment and we hadn’t seem him for awhile. As we rode down the street he called out and said, “Hey, can you wait ten minutes I want to do a Bible study with ya!” Of course we waited and we taught half the Plan of Salvation. We had another appointment so we left after a brief lesson, but he followed us and said he wanted to join us in the next lesson. We saw nothing wrong with that so we let him and it happened to be that we taught the Plan of Salvation again.

Keelin was another young man referred by his grandma to us. His mom is a less active member wanting him to be baptized. He basically taught us the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was like, “Do I set a baptismal date or do I talk to the bishop or something?” “What happens when I mess up?” “I heard after you’re baptized God gives the Holy Ghost. Is that right?” We were happy to answer those questions.

We have a few that are close to baptism and we pray that they’ll make their set dates to be baptized. Along with those we have made tremendous progress with investigators that have been coming to church for years and aren’t yet baptized. Things such as not having parents permission or fear of offending a parent stop them it seems. We continually pray to have the Spirit help them make the commitment.

We met with 16 different investigators this week and I have never before had such an awesome week in my mission. Our plans simply worked out and people were home when they said they’d be. The Spirit lead us to people and we were teaching full-time this week. It was the best. Zone Conference was great too and it helps keep our spirits high. President said to us, “Your area is on fire isn’t it?” We said “It sure is!” We feel so blessed for the things we’ve witnessed. I could probably tell stories from this week for a long time.

Well transfers are this next week, so I hope I don’t leave here.

Thanks for all the great emails.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Photo Credit: Cory Barnes

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Missionary Dan Email #18 from Vancouver, Washington

Climbing a mountain (Daniel on right)

All the mission leaders met this week for a four day training for missionaries. It has a lot to do with how to follow the Spirit, teaching skills in general, and the importance of certain commitments. It’s hard to summarize four days of excellent training, but we were able to role play each day to practice. I’ve already had the chance to use the things I learned and it has been great.

Daniel (left) and other eldersElder Hardy worked hard with another Elder Draper he was able to be with. We arranged for priests to come out with Elder Hoskin (Elder Draper’s companion) so both areas would have missionaries in them. It was as if I had never left. Both my companion and Elder Hoskin grew a lot from the experience and it was good for them to take the area over for awhile.

We had seven investigators at church and they all had a wonderful time. I am so happy that they were able to come. The Lord has been leading us to so many people to teach, our days are full with appointments two to three days in advance. It is honestly one of the busiest times of my mission and I love every moment of it. We are very grateful the Lord has trusted us with so many great people to teach.

While I was in Kennewick I was able to be with Elder Derges and Elder Kelly again. They were both my companions before and we had a blast sharing old memories. They are both really good friends to me. We stayed at Elder Derges’ apartment and did his work in the evenings after the training.

We decided to climb a mountain at six in the morning before our meetings at eight. See picture. Also the member’s house we stayed at there was a llama. Practicing the every soul is precious principle I attempted to share the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately the llama didn’t show much interest.

It was a great week here and I’m glad everyone had fun camping and at Bear Lake. The pictures are great! Thanks for sending them.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Daniel proselytizing

Missionary Dan Email #17 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel knocking on doors

Because of recent mission rule changes they have asked us to knock on every door we see. They have told us to wait for someone to come to the door before we leave. At one door we were there for a while so we took a picture of it.

This week was absolutely incredible. Possibly the best week of my mission. We had several situations a day where we followed a thought we had or a feeling and recognized that it was a prompting from the Spirit. We felt like we went where the Lord would have us go and do what He wanted us to.

I usually don’t care much at all about numbers, but in this case I’ll talk about them for a bit. This week we were able to teach 19 lessons to investigators. Only a couple were repeat lessons, which 12 of those lessons we had a church member come with us to the lesson. Along with that we were able to teach 9 lessons to less active members and a few of them we hadn’t ever met before. That is a total of 28 lessons which the standard of excellence in the mission is 20 lessons a week. With all that we had accomplished we were grateful that the Lord blessed us.

We also had the opportunity to have a mini missionary come with us for 2 days. We were excited and ours had fun biking with us the first day, but the next day his stomach was upset and couldn’t come. It was fun to have him with us. I don’t think they let priests go with the full time missionaries for 2 days in Utah because there is simply too many priests. So it is a wonderful opportunity for the members here.

Daniel weedingI hope Grandpa goes through tests alright and things. His story was really great and inspiring. I laughed when he drove himself to the doctor, but it makes sense to do that.

So we got to work in Rick’s (one of our investigators) yard and helped him trim some bushes. He is always very grateful for the help and said, “If we could get you to come back every day for 2 hours I could put my yard on showcase.” He was joking and we always refuse to accept money from him.

Thanks for all emails and support!

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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Daniel holding gun