Archives for May 2009

Missionary Dan Email #16 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s sixteenth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Ehxtaban Branch

Ehxtaban Branch, Mongolia. Daniel is 4th from right, back row. Click to enlarge (2 MB)

Daniel Speaking Mongolian

Daniel Speaking in Mongolia


On Mother’s Day Daniel spoke with the family and Jill recorded him speaking in Mongolian. Next week I will post Daniel singing in Mongolian.


Wow! Thanks for all the pictures. Everything looks so different. Why did you move the couch? The pictures look very good. Arches national park is very pretty, I liked going there. Aurora looks great, does she already know how to use GIMP? That’d be nice… it took me forever to figure things out in that.

Thanks also for the great writings. I’ll share what I can with the people here. It is amazing how the Lord always help those people that put Him first.

Missionary Work

We were very excited for ErdenMuhx to be baptized this Friday. The branch also was excited too. Our branch president baptized her and the relief society president welcomed her. I was happy to see her fit in with the ward members so well. She brought both of her children to the baptism. She bore a good testimony after her baptism as well. She has done a lot of things to change her life and become a member of the church.

Baptism in Mongolia

Baptism. Daniel on right.

Speaking of change a lot has changed. We had half-transfers on Saturday. I didn’t get to see ErdenMuhx confirmed but the change has been good for me. I have a Mongolian companion that is learning English and knows very little. His name is Ganbeleg. He is full of energy and does good work. My new area is still in the city, actually it’s just right next to my old one. The branch is great and we have a newer building to meet in. I am humbled that I am now going to use my Mongolian a lot more to communicate. With Altangerel it was half English, half Mongolian. It was sad to leave him because we had become great friends. Now I get to develop my listening comprehension and speaking ability at a much quicker pace.

I have been very blessed with all the success the Lord gave to me and my old companion. I am happy to get to know my new one. Transfers are always a little crazy. :)

To Dad

Thanks for all you do with your blog and letting me able to be a post every week. I haven’t heard much about what the new stake has done for my new branch I am in. I know that my old branch was going to become a ward. Its exciting for the Mongolians to be progressing in the church so quickly.

To Beny

The Mongolians truly have a lot of faith and have really embraced the gospel and the Book of Mormon. The Lord has prepared them to be taught. It’s exciting to be a part of it. :)

To Steven

Thanks for the pictures. You have a great talent for taking gorgeous pictures. Some of them I thought you bought at the gift shop and edited yourself with GIMP. It looks like your new little family is doing great.

To Jake

Thanks for the great feedback. You’re a great brother, keep up the great work. I need to continue to study PMG and make sure I become something and not just do missionary things. I’ve put a lot of effort into my mission so far and I will continue to do so. We are still waiting for General Conference… Hmm maybe they are still translating it.

Love, Elder Willoughby
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Installing a PermaStone Modular Vinyl Tile Floor

We needed new carpet and linoleum on the ground floor of our home. In April we called in Henry’s of Bountiful to do the work. This post is not meant as a tutorial on how to install PermaStone vinyl tile. It will however show you how the installation progressed, what it cost, and how well the finished product looks.

Click on the photographs below to see enlarged versions.

Moving Out

Except for the front room, everything on the ground floor was moved into the garage. The green stuff on the right is what is left of the old carpet underlay. Installing the carpet and vinyl was going to take two days.

Fishing Trip

Even the fish had to move. This bucket was their temporary home for a few days. One of the fish jumped out on to the floor but Jake scooped him back up. I bet he felt like a fish out of water. We put a book over the top of the bucket to prevent any more escapes.

Midnight Snacks

Not long ago the front room had been carpeted so it was useful for storing items that were too big or heavy to move to the garage.

Our king size bed was too large to get into the basement so we threw the mattress down in the front room. We borrowed a neighbor’s dolly to move the refrigerator. The plan was to put it in the garage. The dolly wasn’t strong enough to take the refrigerator down the steps so we stored it in the front room. This turned out to be very handy. During the night when I wanted a snack, the refrigerator was right by my bedside. It was surprisingly quiet and didn’t disturb our sleep.

That is my son Paul laying on the bed.

Out With The Old

We tore out the old carpet and underlay. The linoleum stayed and the vinyl tiles will be installed on top. The hallway carpet was to be replaced with the tile. Here I am pulling up the old carpet fastening strips. I left the carpet strips in place in the bedrooms. The kitchen linoleum was scrubbed with bleach to remove any grease.

In With The New

This pile of boxes contains part of the new floor. At the Nafco website you can see the three sizes of tile that are in the box. The flooring has a natural texture and subtle coloration. The tiles come in three different sizes that fit seamlessly into stylish modular units. Each modular unit is comprised of two 16″x16″, three 8″x8″, and two 8″x16″ tiles.

Stick To It

The kitchen and dining area were the first to get a coat of adhesive. That’s the white stuff on the floor.

The installers had difficulty finding my home so had a late start. Nevertheless they finished the vinyl and started on the carpet. They stuck to the job until 8pm but couldn’t quite get finished. They completed the installation the next day.

A Pattern Emerges

Once the first tiles were laid the rest of the tiles were installed very quickly. This is perhaps a job I could do myself but the first time around I was content to watch how it was done. These two men worked hard all day and into the evening.


Here the installer is building upon the first few tiles that were laid in the center of the floor.

Henry’s was recommended to us by a friend. Here is Henry’s Floor Coverings blog. Henry Smith started the company in 1953 and it is now owned by his grandson, Nick Berry. Nick is the one who helped us select PermaStone for our floor.

A Module Unit Emerges

Do you recall the module units mentioned in In With The New? Here you can see the units emerging made up of two large squares, two rectangles, and three small squares. Then they repeat. You can clearly see two full modular units that are not covered by equipment.

Entranceway Under Construction

Here the carpet had to be lifted to install the tile. There was also a small area where the floor had settled. This was no problem for vinyl tile because of its flexibility. If I had chosen ceramic tile I may have had to level out the floor.

An interesting feature of these tiles is GroutFit that is only on two sides of the tile. When they are fitted together, you see a seamless floor. According to Erica Hubbard, the director of marketing for Nafco by Tarkett, “the grout feels amazingly real” without the headaches of real grout.

Hallway Under Construction

This is the hallway that originally was carpeted. Now it is tiled all the way to the three bedrooms. This is a better solution to reduce wear and tear that was very visible on our old carpet. On the subject of tears, consider how easy it is to replace a tile:

It is inevitable that a tile is going to be damaged during the lifetime of the floor. Perhaps it happens while redecorating, or moving furniture from room to room. Replacement takes just a few minutes. Using a heat gun and a utility knife, remove the damaged tile. Then apply adhesive to a new tile and replace it.

For this purpose I purchased an extra box of tiles to use as replacements.

PermaStone Closeup

This photograph shows the “grouting” in more detail. It looks like the real thing. Click on the photograph to get an enlarged view.

The pattern we chose is called Natural Slate (PMR-660) with the Dune color. There are other colors in the slate, namely Flint and River Rock. Of course there are several other patterns and colors to choose from.


The corners had a great fit as you can see here. We retained the original baseboards. The tiles were fitted right up to them and a small amount of grout (real this time) finished the job. Perhaps it isn’t grout but something similar. Anyway the results are perfect.

Cut Around The Wires

The space behind my refrigerator is where I feed wires from the attic through to the basement. The installers neatly went around the wires. This part is always hidden from view once the refrigerator is returned.


The kitchen had 36 feet of coving that needed to be replaced. This was achieved by using the tile itself. I like how it came out. For the coving there was an additional $99 charge for labor which was in the original quote. I tore out the existing coving but it was not very difficult. Tearing things out is so much easier than putting stuff in!

Finished Entranceway

All done. It looks just like brand new. The carpet is back in place and the refrigerator has been moved back into the kitchen. No more midnight snacks without getting out of bed. You can see the modular units in the flooring except this time they are vertically oriented.

Finished Dining Area

There is my spare box of tiles that I hope I never have to use. This dining area looks clean enough to eat off. However, we did bring the dining table back in to the house. By the tile box is a roll of our new carpet that was installed.

Finished Kitchen

Now that is a fine looking kitchen floor. After 26 years the linoleum was finally replaced. And about time Jill said. So my wife is happy, so I’m happy, Henry’s is happy (they got paid) — even the fish are happy. It’s enough to make you want to smile.


I am always asked in the comments, “How much did it cost you?” So here goes:

$1,520.00 — PermaStone Vinyl Tile PMR-660 Dune (380 square feet @ $4.00)
…$718.20 — Labor (380 square feet @ $1.89)
…..$99.00 — Extra Labor Charge, Vinyl Coving (36 feet @ $2.74)

Versions prior to Internet Explorer 8 do not render the borders correctly. Try using FireFox.
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Missionary Dan Email #15 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Altangerel, Mongon Od, and Daniel at church

Altangerel, Mongon Od, and Daniel at church

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s fifteenth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Thanks for the great letters. It was fun to read what everyone is up to. It honestly feels like a month has passed by since last preparation day. It’s the benefit of waking up early and going to bed early. We accomplish so much in one day. Thanks Annie and Marci for the great letters. Happy birthday Paul! Are you really 24? Wow.

There are some hamburgers at this one store, but they tend to be expensive. Some missionaries go and buy raw cow meat from the market and fry up some hamburgers. I haven’t bothered to do that I am content with rice and noodles.

Missionary Work

Our investigator Erdenmohx passed her baptismal interview and will be baptized this Friday. Yesterday I was talking to her about her interview she would be having today. I asked, “Do you have to work tomorrow?” She said jokingly, “Work doesn’t matter, Church is first.” We both laughed and I could tell it relieved some of her stress. She has made great sacrifices to qualify for baptism, while working to pay for her daughter’s school and turning down her friend’s requests to go to parties. I have truly seen the power the Book of Mormon has to change lives. We are so blessed from Heavenly Father to have such a good investigator and are very excited for her. I have learned that the Lord provides a way for anyone that is willing to put forth the effort. Everyone has great potential to become something great.

I am starting to understand people better. I am working hard to learn the language. At times it is very difficult, but instead of getting frustrated I pray and ask for help. I keep a positive attitude about all things and know that if I rely on the Lord He will help me. What I have learned so far has been a blessing from Heavenly Father. He has increased many of my abilities and continues to teach me.

Our branch decided to try and start home teaching again. They got really excited and started assigning companions. I realized that missionary work is exactly what home teaching is, but instead of teaching members we teach non members. It says that in Preach My Gospel somewhere. We had a lot of Mongolians attend the fireside again. Along with them come Hyrbek and Erdenmohx. I was happy that they came with us.

I know that this church is true and Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today. I know that God loves us. He sent His son because He loved us. I have felt His love through the power of the Holy Ghost. Christ has suffered for all of our sins and I know that through His atonement we all can live peacefully and happily for all eternity.

To Mom:

I’d like to have the letter from Mikey Fong. Did you give him the non-pouch address? The two letters from Steven came quickly that weren’t sent in the pouch. Mikey Fong is one of my greatest friends. Did you treat him well when he stopped by? :) Thanks for everything you do Mom, I love you.

To Dad:

Sister Andersen talked to me about your blog. She said someone who was traveling to Mongolia got their information from there and contacted her. I think he is now in Mongolia and investigating the church. I don’t know the full story but it sounds like your blog is doing great things.

The best way to describe what the hole is for is “a small house with the word out in front of it.”

Love, Elder Willoughby

The hole that Daniel helped dig for a part-member family

The hole that Daniel helped dig for a part-member family

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Rewards Checking: First State Bank

Less than a week after updating my list of banks offering Rewards Checking I was applying to some of those same banks to open an account. Deseret First Credit Union had dropped their rate from 5% to 3% but Coulee Bank still maintains 5% (now 4%) on their rewards checking. I am now short one bank so I go in search of a better return. Join me in my over six week long odyssey as I attempt to sign-up with out of state banks in search of rewards.

Choosing a Bank

Looking over the list of banks, which has changed from a few weeks ago, I had eleven to choose from that were open to out of state residents:

  1. AmericaNet Bank
  2. Bank of Asheville
  3. Coulee Bank
  4. Evantage Bank
  5. First State Bank of Kansas City (eligibility recently restricted)
  6. Franklin Bank & Trust Company
  7. Heartland Community Bank
  8. Malvern Federal Savings Bank
  9. Noblebank & Trust, NA
  10. Union State Bank
  11. Valley Bank

I eliminated AmericaNet Bank and Evantage Bank because their high yield rate was only paid up to $10,000. This is much too low of a maximum so they are the first to be crossed off my list. Heartland Community Bank, Malvern Federal Savings Bank, and Union State Bank were put on hold because they have an additional requirement of one account access per month. This slight inconvenience could be offset by two of these banks’ higher maximums on which the first tier interest is paid. I already have an account with Coulee Bank with which I am receiving a decent rate, so strike them off the list. Franklin Bank & Trust Company, Noblebank & Trust, NA, and Valley Bank all require twelve transactions per month. This is a major disadvantage so they are out of the running.

Rewards checking at First State Bank

Rewards checking at First State Bank

Of the two remaining banks, First State Bank of Kansas City (eligibility recently restricted) Bank of Asheville both have, or appeared to have, confusing sign-up web pages. I decide to go with the former as it seems to be a tad clearer. Later I found the sign-up page at First State to be clearly posted, I just missed it the first time around.

Applying On-line

The worst part of Rewards Checking is that in many cases you are dealing with a small bank that is new to signing up out-of-state customers over the Internet. As an example of a drawn out process read about Lee County Bank and Trust.

The time to sign up can be from two to four weeks, or even longer. With these small banks I found the process is very similar. If the bank does not drop its interest rate, it can be well worth the effort. If you have not gone through the process of opening an account with a small out-of-state bank, perhaps the best way for me to describe it is to keep a daily log. That way you can get a flavor of what to expect. I started with First State, then switched to Heartland, and then switched back to First State. While I have a 43 day log, the time from start to finish with First State was three weeks, which is about average. Enough said, here is my log:

[Read more…]

Byron at the Bountiful Temple

Byron at the Bountiful temple with his sisters, parents, and brother-in-law

Byron at the Bountiful temple with his sisters, parents, and brother-in-law

Byron’s Endowment

Last Saturday my nephew Byron attended the Bountiful temple to receive his endowment. He had several members of his family and extended family there with him. Byron will soon be leaving for the MTC. He will then serve in the Argentina Salta Mission. His father also served his mission in Argentina. After taking some photographs at the temple we went to eat at IHOP.

The Gift of the Endowment

For my readers who are not familiar with the term endowment the following may help:

An endowment is a sacred ordinance. Endowments take place in a dedicated House of the Lord, or temple. Temples were centers of religious worship anciently and Mormons build temples today to administer the ancient ordinances of salvation that have been restored to the earth.

The dictionary defines an endowment as a gift given by a higher power. The temple endowment is a gift of knowledge that helps Mormons understand who they are, where they came from, and where they are going. It helps members understand what they should do to prepare to meet God, and how Jesus Christ offers salvation to each of us.

The temple endowment conveys information in a highly symbolic manner. Symbols used in the temple endowment and the meanings of those symbols are sacred to Mormons. Mormons don’t talk about the details of what goes on in the temple—it is too sacred to be discussed, except in the most holy of places.

[Read more…]

Missionary Dan Email #14 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s fourteenth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Helping Hands Project (Daniel on left)

Helping Hands Project (Daniel on left)

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Nergu, Totdox, and Beleg with family at their baptism

Nergu, Totdox, and Beleg with family at their baptism

The pictures are of the baptism two weeks ago and the service project we did with multiple churches last week. Keep up the great work. It sounded like everyone was doing well and having a great life. Thanks for the continued support and love. We are working to help people continue to come to church and activities. Paul, Steven, and Jake will you send any good ideas of activities that you have done? We hold family home evenings on Monday. I wasn’t in the singles ward so I’m not very familiar with many activities. How do you balance your schedule to attend church and go to school? The members here are having similar challenges.

Missionary work is still going great. It was fun talking to you [for Mother’s Day]. This week we supported the members more and did a lot of service and activities with them. We are doing our best to strengthen the members as well and bring more into the church. It was neat to see Mongon Od pass the sacrament yesterday. He had a smile on and was doing his best to learn from the members what to do. He is a great new member. He received the calling to stand at the door and welcome people.

As for things that I need I don’t think I need anything. The dictionary will be nice to have like I said, but I could do without one. I am happy to serve the Lord and do my best so He can use me as an instrument in His hands.

You do good work Dad. Thanks for being a great father and good example to me.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Mormon Helping Hands Project working with other churches

Mormon Helping Hands Project working with other churches

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Rick Speaking on Mother’s Day

On Mothers Day 2007 Jill and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting. I am publishing my words from two years ago to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday. Be sure to read Jill’s words also.

It is a great responsibility to speak on Mothers Day. My view of motherhood comes from observation which is not always accurate. Therefore I will include some quotes from the women in my life, the ones that raised me and had an influence in who I am.

Grandmother Florence

Grandmother Florence

Grandmother Florence

After school my cousin Philip and I would go straight to grandmother’s house to eat. We would open a can of stewed tomatoes and eat them with bread that we dipped in the juice. After several weeks we switched to a can of baked beans (pork and beans) and bread. Later I got very sophisticated with my meals and would prepare beans on toast. Mother was often short of money and although grandmother had much less to live on she would give me a two pound bag of sugar and some cans of food to take home. Once, in despair she said, I did not raise your mother that way. She then turned and looked at me and said words that are etched deep in my soul:

You first pay your rent, ‘lectric, and food.

Translated I understand it to mean first take care of your shelter, utilities, and food. Add to that tithes and offerings and you are set for life. Resilience will be your middle name.

I was interested in a toy and grandmother asked me if I wanted it. Thinking that she would buy the toy for me I replied, Yes, I want that. She said, This is how it is done. You save your pennies in this box and when you have enough we will purchase it. I didn’t want the toy that badly to have to save but I couldn’t back out now. This experience benefited me for life for I learned early grandmother’s law of acquisition—save.

When difficulties came to me I would sometimes talk to my grandmother (there were no grandfathers) and she would say, It is always darkest before the dawn. (Thomas Fuller, Pisgah Sight [1650], bk. II, ch. 2) As I experienced more of mortality I learned to apply that phrase when life was blackest by telling myself Richard, you know that it will get better—and it always did.

At 21 I told grandmother that I was going to be baptized and she said, Oh, the Mormons, they will never let you go! I was baptized and she was right and I am grateful that the Spirit of God will always move somebody to reclaim me to the Fold of Christ if I should wander from the safety of a Stake of Zion.

In town with my mother Sadie

In town with my mother Sadie

Mother Sadie

We never went to church as a family or individually but when I was very young I recall mother, who was a Catholic, telling me that there was God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. She said I can pray to God the Father and ask for what I needed. I could understand asking for what I wanted, a young child knows how to do that. She then said that you have to have faith. I didn’t understand that, I said to myself, what’s faith?

Fast forward to age twelve and I am having a difficult time at school such that I felt I could not talk to anybody. I lay quietly in bed, tears in my eyes, no-one to turn to. I remembered my mother’s words from years ago and so I prayed as best I could to God the Father. In my mind’s eye I pictured Him as a grandfather, a real person. I started the prayer something like this: God, I don’t know if you exist but please help me…. I don’t think that was very good faith but I did have my prayer answered.

During the coal miners’ strikes of 1972 and 1974 the electrical power to our neighborhood was cut off for several hours. The power would be cycled on and off to save coal. Our home had a gas range but many people used electric ranges. In the winter evening when the power was cut, mother was immediately thinking of others. A single mother lived close by and mother exclaimed, Valerie will be frightened in the dark, and she is all electric, I’ll fix her a meal and take it over.

When I was small, mother said, The little baby birds in the nest, when they are grown, they leave their mother and fly away and start a family of their own. When you are grown, you will leave and have a wife and you will look after her and have a family. It is right that you do and I only ask that you remember me. In 1999 my mother died alone in an apartment in England. All her children were living in America. In 2001 Elder Jacob de Jager with my wife as proxy for my mother, my son as proxy for my father, and me as me, sealed my parents to me forever in the Bountiful temple. Now she will always be remembered.


President Hinckley:

Notwithstanding this preeminence given the creation of woman, she has so frequently through the ages been relegated to a secondary position. She has been put down. She has been denigrated. She has been enslaved. She has been abused. And yet some few of the greatest characters of scripture have been women of integrity, accomplishment, and faith.

We have Esther, Naomi, and Ruth of the Old Testament. We have Sariah of the Book of Mormon. We have Mary, the very mother of the Redeemer of the world. We have her as the chosen of God, described by Nephi as a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins (1 Ne. 11:15).

She it was who carried the child Jesus into Egypt to save His life from the wrath of Herod. She it was who nurtured Him in His boyhood and young manhood. She stood before Him when His pain-wracked body hung upon the cross on Calvary’s hill. In His suffering He said to her, Woman, behold thy son! And to His disciple in a plea that he care for her, He said, Behold thy mother! (John 19:26–27). Gordon B. Hinckley, The Women in Our Lives, Ensign, Nov 2004, 82.

I add my testimony that the most beautiful of all God’s creations is woman. Women have been an influence for good in my life and I am happy that Mothers Day is celebrated and women are honored. The Father of us all is pleased when His daughters are treated with kindness and respect.

Jill with her children

Jill with her children

Mother Jill

In July 2003 I was arguing with my wife one evening, I cannot recall what about. Jill was calm as usual and I was annoyed. She remembered she had an appointment and went upstairs to leave. I sat down fuming. Let me describe fuming. Years ago I took a mandatory hazard materials class. I recall that the instructor was insistent that we know the difference between vapors and fumes. For example when I fill the gas tank I smell gasoline vapors and not fumes. Fumes denote burning, hence when I start the car engine I now smell gasoline fumes from the exhaust. Hence I say I was fuming about Jill.

At the very moment the kitchen door closed when Jill left, the phone rang. It was Sister Kelson who was on a Relief Society committee. Relief Society was spotlighting a sister and she asked, What are the things you like most about Jill? Whoa, how that turned around my thinking! Try asking this question (but substitute the person’s name for Jill) when you are annoyed with someone and remember, if you fume, you will burn up inside. Extracts from what Sister Kelson wrote:

Her husband says, Along with her beauty, it was her brains that attracted me to her.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. She plays the piano and sings. She is always the first to say sorry if there is an argument. Her husband feels he does better at this now because of her example. Her husband feels that he is the one who is high strung and she is the one who is easy-going and calm. She is practical.

She has two brothers and a sister and she enjoys family get-togethers with them. She loves camping—she will camp in a tent. The guys at her husband’s work can’t believe he is that lucky. She enjoys going for walks with her husband so they can have time to talk.

Her favorite treats are red licorice, chocolate, cheesecake, cinnamon rolls.

I asked Jake to write something for me to use in my talk:

Feel free to quote as you need in your talk. Print the rest out, put it in an envelope to give to her just before the phone call on Sunday. The Bible says that we should honour our mothers and fathers that our days may be long. I would like to have more days, so it sounds like a good deal. There are various meanings of the verb honor. One is to regard or treat with honor or respect, and another is to confer honor on. I think the scripture refers to the first, but right now I’ll settle with the second. My mother is a mother of five children. Not your average family size in the world. My mother maintained the home with four boys. Not your average number of rambunctious males.

My mother prepared me to serve my mission.

Together with my father, my mother patiently taught me to keep the commandments; that we have an Eternal Father in Heaven; that we must pray to Him frequently and keep His commandments; that we must study the scriptures; that we must keep the Sabbath Day holy, including partaking of the sacrament each week; that we must follow the prophet; that we must keep the ten commandments; that we must live the law of chastity; that we must obey the word of wisdom; that we must always pay a full tithing; that we must fast and pay fast offerings; that we must obey the law of the land. My mother helped me live and understand to keep the commandments by word and example.

My mother encouraged me to save my money for my mission—both by word and by helping me with other expenses. She has worked hard for many years to help support the family. The extra money allowed me to focus on saving for my mission.

My mission right now is what her mission was from the day I was born. My mother’s mission was to bring a child into the world and teach him to follow the example of Christ—both by word and by example. My mission is to invite others to come unto Christ—both by word and example. The success that I have in my life and in my mission is a tribute to the effectiveness of her life and her mission.


Thank you for your love, work, and sacrifice.

I love you.

Martha with her children

Martha with her children

Grandmother Martha

Excerpts from her journal:

I was twelve years old when daddy gave consent for Dollie, Bessie and I to be baptized. Mamma had wanted to be baptized when we first came to live in Independence and she learned the gospel was true but daddy refused to give his consent. Mamma cried bitter tears but President Samuel O. Bennion said, No-o-o-o, a woman must have the consent of her husband. Mother and Minnie were baptized in 1921. We three sisters were baptized by Elder Given on 5 August 1923.

Across the street from our house the Stephenson family moved in; they are from the State of Tennessee and are members of the Re-Organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her church had its Headquarters in Independence, therefore most of the townspeople belonged to her church. My oh my, how we did fight over who’s church was right. Each time we always ended up screaming and pulling each others hair. I was taught at my church that it was the right church. Joseph Smith was the head of my church and Joseph Smith was the head of her church, too. It was many years later before I learned the Prophet was truly the head of both churches and the church in Independence were the Mormons who had not gone to Utah after the prophet’s death.

One day [Eli] ask[ed] me for a date which I accepted telling him there was a play at our church if he’d like to go with me. He said that was fine; my parents were agreeable; I am eighteen years old. I thought I was old enough to make my own decisions so when the play let out at 8:30 P.M. my date suggested a 9:00 P.M. movie at the theater a short distance away. I did not alert my parents of my theater treat so they became worried; by the time I got home it was 11:00 P.M. We went straight home but daddy had his old trusty double-barreled shot gun out. Dollie and Mamma rushed to meet us and got between me and my date so daddy couldn’t aim his gun at us. Now, Will, we don’t want any trouble! The young man hurriedly left and I was ordered into the house.

I was able to teach (by mail) the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to a precious grandson whom I have never seen. He lives in Crewe, Cheshire, England. He is the only member of the family in Crewe to accept the gospel—so far. His name is Richard Jewel Willoughby, Jr. and is the son of an English mother married to my soldier Airman stationed in England during the Korean War. His mother chose her family in England instead of America and divorced my son, thus, I have never been able to see them. This precious spirit knew so much about the Gospel by the time the missionaries in England contacted him he was ready for baptism. He is an Elder now looking forward to filling a mission for the church. However, the Church authorities advised him to find a girl and get married which he did—by visiting his grandmother in Salt Lake City, Utah [and in] 1980 was married to an American girl—Jill Holst—in the Ogden Temple. Jill is a very lovely girl.

I close, hoping that all women will enjoy this day, and that mothers everywhere will feel of the Spirit of God and know that He lives and that He most dearly loves His precious daughters. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Jill Speaking on Mother’s Day

On Mothers Day 2007 Jill and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting. I am publishing Jill’s words from two years ago to celebrate Mother’s Day this coming Sunday.

Jill holding Steven 1983

Jill holding Steven 1983

You will probably be surprised to hear that I’m happy to be up here today. The main reason is that I get to sit on the soft seats instead of on the hard metal folding chairs in the back. I am also happy today because in a couple of hours I will get to talk to my son, Jake, who is on a mission down in Mexico. He called to give me the phone number yesterday and it was so good to hear his voice, even with the Spanish accent. Jake was 6’3” when he left and he thinks he has grown another couple of inches taller. He’s also grown in more important ways. I’d like to read a portion of his last email:

Mexico keeps getting funner each day. We play soccer, read the scriptures, baptize the people, and improve ourselves in the process. What more can you ask? My soccer skills are improving drastically. We sometimes play the American missionaries verses the Mexican missionaries and we have only lost once. We play every week outside of the church. My knowledge of the scriptures and how to teach from them is improving bit by bit. Studying everyday really helps improve your understanding and application. You can learn each day in a different way how the church is true.

Getting emails like this is one of the blessings from being a mother. Today I’m going to share some of the words of the prophets and others about motherhood.

In 2005, a magazine published a listing of the world’s 100 most powerful women. All the women were included because of their political, business or entertainment prominence. Motherhood was almost entirely ignored or at the very least devalued. The work that most women in the history of the world have performed and continue to perform was overlooked. Good parenting, while very challenging at times, offers great potential for happiness. Parents can experience great joy by building a strong, loving home environment and teaching gospel principles, which can help their children lead righteous, happy, and productive lives. In 3 John 1:4 we read I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

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Missionary Dan Email #13 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s thirteenth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Keep up the great work. As from what I have read there is a lot of change going on. Stay happy and always go to church. :)

The missionaries from my last district

The missionaries from my last district

Missionary Work

Hergu was baptized as well as Totdox. It was a good experience for her to be baptized. She has had a lot of opposition to overcome. Her husband doesn’t mind the church but a lot of her relatives are opposed to it. We are grateful for the Lord blessing us with many great investigators. I was happy to see her baptized. The relief society president welcomed her into the branch (soon to be a ward). Erdenmuhx is progressing, she is following the word of wisdom and attending church regularly. Totdox is our less active member’s son. He knows a lot of the primary songs. The greatest thing that he did was sing the Book of Mormon Story primary song in Mongolian. They live far away from the church. It is about a 25 minute walk to the bus stop and a good 20 or so minute drive. They did good to get all their kids there on a bus. I am grateful for the great blessings I have received. I am always learning that the church is the same no matter where you are.

Daniel standing by a ger in Mongolia

Daniel standing by a ger in Mongolia

We have mission conference this weekend which is exciting. The Church here is growing very rapidly. We will receive a stake May 24, 2009. It is really exciting and there is a lot to do.

Service Projects

Today we did a service project to clean up the city. There were lots of members that attended. It was a joint church project. We wore our yellow shirts and went to work. It was a great experience to see how many yellow shirts there were. The best thing about our church is that everyone is always willing to get to work. There are lots of missionaries as well that contribute to the helping hands army. I was happy to be apart of it. We cleaned up most of the river side within three hours.

We also tilled some dirt for one the church members. We used some pick axes and shovels. It was hard work for our district but we accomplished it quickly.

Mother’s Day Call

I can call any time that works for everyone. I am thinking 7 o’clock pm. I will call once at 7 pm, then if need to I can call later. I have a phone card that seems to work well as all the other missionaries said. It will probably be delayed so no need to worry. It is preparation day for me so if 7 o’clock Mountain Standard Time doesn’t work I can easily call later. Happy early Mother’s Day! I love you mom. Thanks family.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Related Posts

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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