Missionary Paul – Part 7 of 10

The Book of Mormon.
This is part seven of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

August 2005

There are about 110 to 200 people that come every week to the branch here. They all are Spanish speaking although some of the kids don’t speak Spanish very well. Si me amáis, guardad mis mandamientos.

You might want to consider picking up the institute Book of Mormon manual. I like it. Today we had a big barbecue and ate all of the food left over from the stake’s youth conference. The library’s Internet is hardly working today. It took the whole hour to look at the pictures. The pictures normally download quickly, but we had to use the computers later in the day when they run very slowly.

I am getting transferred to concord. It will probably be faster to wait until next week for my address than to send them to the mission home but it’s up to you. Dad’s [conversion] story came though. I spoke yesterday in church about missionary work—twenty minutes. Send me some socks, not the green striped ones they don’t last. The ones with the gold toe are good.

September 2005

If someone asks for my address you are supposed to give them the mission home address so they don’t send mail to my old apartments. Have Steven send the camera TV cable with the socks if you could. Tell Jake C that they have been holding all the mail because of transfers so if he was expecting a reply from a letter he might have sent I still haven’t got it. My new companion is Elder Bodily from Pittsburg Pennsylvania. My room mates are Elders De Olivera and Gionet from Brazil and New Brunswick so I am learning a little Portuguese and French.

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Missionary Paul – Part 6 of 10

This is part six of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

June 2005

Yes I got the camera and I have taken some pictures. Tomorrow I am transferring to Pittsburg from Antioch but with my same companion Elder Garcia and in the same apartment. I’ll be here for at least another six weeks. The baptism is set for the 11th but it doesn’t look like it is going to go though. In the report every week I mostly write about the people we are working with. My companion drives a lot, he likes it.

The stamps came, however it appears to have taken $7.05 in postage to send me $7.40 in stamps. We have a baptism date set with Higinio for the 2nd of July I think. He is doing very well. The package came with some tasty cookies that I have been eating. Someone seems to have gotten hungry on the way to the post office though because all of the candy came half eaten. The teaching appointments are going well, I expect Doris, Rosendo, and Higinio will be baptized soon.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Photo Credit: bryanh

We are going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert in Oakland tomorrow. I think we are going to ride the BART there, which should be fun.

Dad, can you have your conversion story finished by August 1?

Paul’s Father

[On Father’s Day I] hope all is well with you and I’ve not forgotten you asking for my conversion story. I want to thank you for being my son and all the things you have done for me over the years—from looking after me when I was sick; repairing my cars; fixing computers; and giving your opinions and perspective. You also educated yourself on many things which made you fun to be around because you would sometimes be the only one in the house that knew what I was talking about on a particular subject. As I’ve watched all my children grow I try to learn something from my observations and indeed with you I have learned a lot—so thank you again for being my son.

Love, Dad

July 2005

We went to Alcoholicos Anonimos last Thursday with one of our investigators. He is one of the big promoters of the program here. It was fun.

Missionary Paul – Part 5 of 10

This is part five of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

March 2005

I like the area I am in very well. We haven’t had any baptisms in this area yet, however, we are getting close. The church in Spanish is small down here. I still drive, I have not forgotten. The church members are just like church members. Except they all have black hair and black eyes and are fairly recent converts to the church.

We washed the car today. It is very clean now. The 15th is transfer day; I think I will probably stay here in San Leandro.

I lost twenty pounds this transfer. Now I weigh 160 pounds and my clothes fit well once again. I think that if you put your mind to it you could lose weight too. It is not very hard. There is a lot of food to eat though so I may gain it back again. My first companion Elder Smoot is back in Provo now. He finished his mission. He will be officially engaged to his girl friend that has been waiting for him as soon as he earns enough money.

I bought a new 512 memory card so now I take more video and pictures. I like the videos better. I worked on not being a picky eater in the MTC and it looks like it paid off. I can eat just about anything now without throwing up and most things even taste good. One of the things I don’t really like is lengua [Ox tongue]. It is really squishy and fatty but I eat it anyways. Burritos of carne asada, which is like thin steak, are my favorite food here. We buy them from little taco trucks which drive some where, park and then sell tacos.

Talk to you next week.

It’s too bad to hear that grandpa isn’t doing well. Try not to be too sad. Photo of Wilson Rivas Sanchez

One of my little friends, Wilson, died a few weeks ago at five years old. I was there the first time their family came to church and followed their progress until the Mother and her twelve year old were baptized three months later. The Father continued to struggle in overcoming some difficulties but never failed in coming to church and supporting his family. Then four months later I picked up the phone one Sunday morning only to hear Brother Rivas struggling to relate the sad news and inform us of the viewing and funeral. The next day as we gathered together and looked at the little casket, it was obvious that Wilson was not in the cold lifeless body but as promised had indeed returned to live with his loving Father in Heaven. While it may have been difficult to accept, his death was a necessary part in God’s plan of Eternal happiness and we have the assurance that all is well.

Keep the big picture in mind.


Elder Willoughby

I moved to Antioch. Elder Denning from Idaho is my new companion. Brother Lang told me if I ever made it to Pittsburg to avoid Black Diamond street, however, the Elders that live with us and cover Pittsburg say it isn’t too bad anymore. Elder Vernon, my MTC companion, lives in the same apartment with us. It is fun. I have begun reading Jesus the Christ in Spanish. It is easier to read than the English one because the translator has taken out all of the archaic words.

The shirt fits well, however, I don’t think I’ll need any more. All of my shirts are holding up well and should last me the whole time. The new apartment is nice. I’m thinking I will probably stay here for a couple months but you never know. The scripture cards came. They look really good, I like them. How is Uncle Mike? Do you watch more TV with your Tivo?

Hello Daniel,

Try to see if you like the Work and the Glory books, Sarah has all of them. They should be good. Have you read all of the Tennis shoes among the Nephites? The Wards have all of them. Try the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, Steven has that one. Get the eye, the ear, and the arm from the library. It is a good book. Jake C knows what it is called if I didn’t get the title right. Try reading the wheel of time series. Oh, get the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe that is a good one and read the other books that he wrote. Start out with the eye the ear and the witch and the wardrobe. Let me know when you finish and I’ll remember some more.

Food, if you go to Betos I have probably eaten every single thing on the menu. I’ll tell you what the good stuff is when I get back. In the mean time you might try some quesadillas as they are tasty.

Clay Wight email to Jill Willoughby

Jill discovered that her L-3 Communications colleague, Clay Wight, had a son in the MTC with Paul.

From: Wight, Clayton
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 7:09 AM
To: Willoughby, Jill
Subject: Small World


This is an excerpt from my son’s email yesterday:

Hey Dad I did know Elder Willoughby, real well. He was in my Branch. I even went to class with him a few times. I checked him out of his room. I never heard him speak English the whole time he was in the MTC. That was impressive.

Clay Wight

April 2005

We watched all of the sessions in conference and they were really good. I watched them in English, the Spanish translators are really good but they always miss some things. I would have gone with the Presidential scholarship that gives [Jake] more money, the credits transfer fairly well between the schools and he could switch if needed. Photo of Paul with missionariesHe should be able to get good enough college grades to get a scholarship at Utah State when he switches. Tell him to get a free bachelors degree at U of U then he can go to what ever school he wants for his masters. Fifteen hours is a lot of credits to take and have to work at the same time. I think he wants to go party up there with Brian.

The pictures don’t cause any problems. I don’t need anything I will tell you when I do. If Dad still has the Book of Mormon summary booklet project saved off the other Elders here really like it and were wondering if he could send three of them out here.

There are a few people we are teaching that look promising. Monica, Sal and Elvira, Guiermo, and Roberto. There are some others that are doing well but I can’t remember their names at the moment. I like fixing head gaskets; that’s an expensive repair. I haven’t heard from Jake C for a while and I like the city I am serving in. Ask Steven if he has any tips for improving my Spanish. Did Daniel get started on any of those books?

I like linoleum, make sure you get some real slippery so we can slide around in our socks. The places aren’t too scary here. I am the junior companion right now, which means that I work equally with the senior companion except he is responsible for what happens and has the last say in the decisions to be made. I play the piano in district meetings when no one else can. So far I have learned one new hymn, #27.

We usually eat breakfast and lunch in the apartment and about half the time we eat dinner with a member. I have been eating honey nut cheerios for breakfast with some tasty vitamin D whole milk. I found some chili in one of the apartments, someone gave us some hot dog buns, and I bought some hot dogs so I have been eating chili cheese dogs this last little while. I usually have some toast and put either pork and beans, old English cheese, jam, peanut butter, or honey on it. There are usually some leftovers from a dinner to eat as well. I like to eat what other missionaries have left in the apartment, a cupboard of strange cans and foods always builds up that no-one can bother to cook or eat so I chow down on it. I’ve been eating a lot here and I’m back up to 180 pounds, which makes my clothes fit a little tighter.Photo of Paul with missionaries and converts

They carpooled to the temple, it is about thirty minutes away. We drive a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. I have been driving for the last seven months. Do you think you could send me a Franklin KJB-2003 Bible Bookman Card for my birthday? I think they are about $20 and plug into the back of the little translator that I carry around. A legacy dvd and a special witnesses dvd, they come with Spanish on them. My new companion is Elder Garcia from Tampico Mexico, he is 6 foot 5 inches tall and really big.

The senior missionaries sure help out a lot here.

May 2005

Next Sunday is Mothers Day, if you can call me up at 6:30 – 7:00 my time. We go to church at 8:00 so if you are late we won’t be there. We haven’t received any direction on calls yet so if anything changes I’ll tell you when you call. Hey do you think you could send me a church almanac and a true to the faith in Spanish (Leales a la Fe)? My companion’s name is Elder Garcia. I can send you a picture after the camera arrives. The traffic is only bad here during rush hour and the highway systems are very extensive so it ends up about the same as Salt Lake. Elder Oaks spoke with the missionaries yesterday, he flew out for a YSA fireside and was nice enough to speak to us the next day. Steven can send the package here to Pittsburg if he has them leave it in the apartment office or at the post office. If not I’ll just have to wait until zone conference when they bring the packages from the mission home.

The pants are not too small they are just getting tighter. I’m going to keep wearing them for now. I have a lot of candy I keep collecting it from other elders so it’s going to take me a while to eat what I have. Macaroni and Cheese is only 33 cents at Wal-Mart, it’s pretty tasty.

So it turned out to be a bunion [on Sarah’s foot] after all, I thought so. Tuesday we have interviews with the President so we’ll be doing that for a while. Our branch is moving to a different chapel this Sunday. It should be fun. Good job at work [Dad], now all you have left to do is retire. Yesterday we had a zone conference with Elder Hallstrom and his wife are who taking a mission tour here. It was good. When you get a chance I was wondering if you could send me your conversion story.


I don’t have a lot of time left because the computer at the library was broken and I had to fix it before I could use it. I received both packages and every thing looks good. The pictures are very nice and fun to look at. I don’t know if Andrew can mail me or not but it cost money to print here so if he would like a response have him mail it out. I received the present from Amazon and the others and I’m very happy with them. The Wards sent some little sticky frog snappers that the other elders have really enjoyed snapping each other with. Could you send me some more stamps? We live in Pittsburg but our area is Antioch. We have a baptism coming up on June eleventh, Monica Zarate from Peru. Also we are hoping that Berlin Leon will be baptized soon. She is married to a member and they are both from Guatemala.

If you would mail [your conversion story] out when you finish it up that would be good.

Missionary Paul – Part 4 of 10

This is part four of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

December 2004

I talked with some construction workers and the other elders, looks like they all vote for laminate [for your floor]. Two of the members have really nice laminate floors that look great. If you can include a Mexico map in the Christmas package, the others are great. I’ve been working on memorizing the script to the restoration movie because we watch it a lot. If you get some extra time could you rip the Spanish audio off and send it to me on CD? Photo of Paul with other missionaries

Steven or Jake should be able to help. After you rip the movie, virtual dub can save off a wave file of the audio which can be burned onto CD.

Yes my suit and pants still fit. I’m still the same size except my ribs don’t stick out anymore. The second suit that they sent they sent the pants a size too small expanded out to the largest setting which is an inch too small. They fit now but I couldn’t say for how long. I’ve got it hanging up in my closet and don’t wear it because I really don’t need two suits. If you haven’t bought Jake’s yet I’ll send him this one. It looks really sharp and should fit him well. I still have the box if Jake wants it, if not maybe you could have the pants traded in for me and I’ll wear it on the way home. Christmas calls are one hour long. Some of the members have free long distance so I might call from them if they offer. Do you have some sort of card for me if that doesn’t work out? Transfers are December twenty first so if you are sending anything that isn’t going to make it to the apartment before then send it to the mission home. About packages can you send some more black socks? I like the thick kind.

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Missionary Paul – Part 3 of 10

This is part three of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

October 2004

The building I am in has fourteen apartments in it I think. We live in the basement. Out the window we look into a hill which ramps up to the car dealership behind which you can’t really see because the hill is steep and tall. The Hilltop english ward is the exact same chapel as the rock gardens with a different color scheme. Our apartment is in the Hilltop Bay View complex. These computers are really locked down tight! Sarah’s email has a little bit of news for Mom. Tell her to get well.

The Malara family has three more weeks until their baptismal date. We taught them a third discussion yesterday. The Dad is really neat because he somehow managed to learn everything correctly from the Bible and already knows all of the doctrine. Usually if you run into someone that knows the Bible they fight every point and nothing gets accomplished. He is working on changing around his work schedule so he can come to church.

[Sarah,] what is happening at your work? Mom said you were working full time. Have you moved out of the grunt work yet? How is your new computer working? School started didn’t it? What classes are you taking? Do you have one more year left after this one? Ok, talk to you later.

I am well. The apartment locks the packages in a closet and puts the key in your locked mail box. My indoor soccer shoes are in there right? Put in my allen wrenches, the two sets that fold up into a metal handle if you can find them. The missionary work is good. This past week we had a big party in the Centro de Estacas, I think it is called the Inter-Stake Center in English, where all of the Spanish wards and branches in the mission came. There was a lot of food and a dance after. It was good, the Malara family came and my Colombian bike racer friend came with his two teenagers that are not members. Photo of Paul with little girl

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we are going back to the ISC (interstake center) to watch the BYU ballroom dancing company. The Malara family is coming again and hopefully William the Peruvian will come too. The Colombian former professional bike racer is fun. His name is Don Carlos Vargas, a recent convert and 50 years old. My companion and I went on a bike ride with him. 48 miles with a 7 mile uphill at the end to the top of a mountain. It was tiring. I couldn’t keep up with Don Carlos but I came in a couple of minutes behind him, the first missionary to ever make it up the mountain at the end. Our branch president, President Gomez, as well as another member named Walter are the only ones from Chile. There are not very many people here from the countries that are well off like Chile and Argentina. Most of the members are from Mexico and El Salvador.

It drizzled for a couple of days, not too much rain. For Christmas send me those laptop speakers that Steven has with a power adapter and will run them and the cd player. If someone has an old one that will be perfect. I think Daniel has one that he might want to sell. If not there is one here for 12 dollars, nothing fancy, it only has to play the Book of Mormon cds. Also if you can find the Hymns in Spanish that would be really neat.

I can usually understand people pretty well if I focus. Like this Spanish guy who is talking to his friend sitting next to me using the computer. When I read I understand a lot. I’m not too bad at reading out loud, however, I don’t speak very well. Those pictures sound interesting, how did your camera work out? It has been good. We are currently teaching the Malara family and committed all three of them to baptism yesterday. We are also teaching William, Miguel, Eduardo, Jarbaf and Ayuso. I buy a little bit of food like bread milk and cereal but we usually have dinner with a member so I don’t need much. There is a Food Max across the highway that is close. I usually buy my cereal, bread, and milk from Costco. You just missed the letter I sent to Jake C, I’ll have to him to go to YSA next time. I’ll write it in my planner.

This week it was a little cold in the chapel when we got there. I didn’t think much of it and went to Sunday school. A few minutes later my companion called me out and we went to the heater room. He says to me, We’ve got to get the some heat in that chapel before everyone leaves. The chapel was 57 degrees. I tinkered with the thermostat computer for a while until I figured out that everything was good to go on that end. I felt the vents and they were cold. I felt the pipes going into the heater and they were cold as well. We followed the pipes into the boiler room and the temperature gauges read 60 degrees, no hot water. I tinkered with the boiler a bit and got the pump motor to start humming but not turning. I pulled out my pen and jammed in in the shaft to start it turning and it fires up. I cut the heat to the rest of the building and had the chapel up to 68 degrees before sacrament meeting. It was good.

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Missionary Paul – Part 2 of 10

This is part two of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

August 2004

I haven’t setup my ldsmail account yet so don’t send me any emails because I won’t get them. My area is in Richmond and is really big. I live in an apartment on Richmond Parkway. This past Sunday I shared my testimony in the Richmond 3rd Spanish branch and sang Called To Serve. My companion Elder Smoot and I are both new to the area. We have been teaching a man named Eduardo who is a really good investigator. Our branch president, President Gomez, is from Chile. His Spanish wasn’t too difficult to understand. I think the Spanish from Peru is the best, they seem to speak more clearly than others. We went to the temple on Saturday, a Spanish session.

Photo of Paul, Elder Smoot, mission president and wife by Oakland temple

Email from Elder Smoot

Hello Brother Willoughby,

My name is Elder Chandler Smoot and I’m your son’s companion. I’m from Provo, Utah and have been out on my mission for about 15 months now. I just wanted to write you and give you my thanks for raising such a wonderful son. It really is a pleasure to work with such a fine man. He has an exceptional desire to learn and studies hard. I frequently find myself learning from his wonderful example. You should truly be proud. Since he has arrived he has yet to speak a word of English to me, which makes it really fun to work with him. Well, that’s all I’m able to write today due to time restraints. I just wanted you to know that your son is doing exceptionally well out here and appears to be enjoying every second of it.

Take care and have a great week,

Elder Smoot


Hello Elder Smoot,

Thanks for communicating to me that Paul is doing well and that you think highly of him. My wife will be thrilled to hear some more news of Paul. His siblings won’t show much excitement (they have to be cool) but they are reading your email just the same.

It would appear that Paul has a great companion and that you work well together. Thanks for training him in his duties. Paul was self-motivated about his mission and would go to mission training in the Stake without any reminders from us. He would buy the discussions and church books and study them. We just gave him a room and fed him. Incidentally, we only need to buy half as much milk since he left. :)

Thanks again for writing,

Bro Willoughby

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Missionary Paul – Part 1 of 10

Provo Missionary Training Center entrance

This is part one of a ten part series chronicling Paul’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.


Paul is an Eagle Scout and an active member of his church since birth. He earned a full tuition scholarship to the University of Utah and completed a year of schooling before leaving for the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in June 2004. He returned to the university after his mission and is majoring in Computer Engineering.


California Oakland Mission Alumni

Paul served in the California Oakland (Spanish speaking) Mission June 2004 to June 2006. He worked to save the entire $9,000 needed for his mission, and also purchased with his own money the necessary attire. Here are a few excerpts from correspondence to our family, in his own words.

June 2004

At the MTC.

July 2004

At the MTC.
Photo of Paul leaving the Missionary Training Center

Hola Daniel,

Tell Jake to help Jake C study for his mission. Have him take one of those gray Missionary Gospel Study Program booklets to Jake C and to write me to tell me whether he did those things he was going to do for me. Make it happen, thanks Daniel. I got all three of the postcards, sounds like your trip was fun. Tell Mom to ask them about my suit, and tell Sarah I’ll get a reply for her letter one of these days. The zip ties are what make the T-Maxx go, good idea. When I get back I will teach you Spanish. How is your new room? I am having a good time here, I like being a missionary. Remember to pay attention during seminary and you will know how to answer people’s questions about the church. Tell the family that I’ll try to write this week too,

Elder Willoughby