Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #8

Daniel and Spencer at the MTC.

Dan and Spencer at the MTC

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s eigth email from the Missionary Training Center. He has a personal message for visitors to Rickety.

Dear Family and Friends,

Christmas was very exciting. Elder Holland came in the morning and taught us about Christ. He gave us 12 names of Christ to study each day for 12 days. He called them the 12 days after Christmas. It has been wonderful to get to know my Savior better and understanding His life more helps me with mine.

The RC has again been such a wonderful experience for me. I prepared this time as I felt I wasn’t doing exactly what Heavenly Father wanted me to. Through that preparation for the RC I learned wonderful missionary lessons. I was able to better follow the Spirit and help the people solve their concerns rather than just trying to get them to meet with the missionaries. I was able to bear my testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel and also of how much God loves his children. The people I talked to, some really wanted the help from the Church to get more peace in their lives. Others simply were interested in what the Church taught.

Any visitors to my Dad’s blog who are searching for God’s love or solutions to life’s toughest questions I invite you to hear The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints message. Our message is simple. We all have a Father in Heaven. He loves us. We are His children. He has placed us in families to help us have joy and happiness in this life. He has had a pattern of love and concern for His children throughout all of time as recorded in the Bible. He loved us so much that he sent His son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth. While on earth Christ set up His Church which taught His Gospel. He called apostles to help Him teach.

Though Christ only sought to do good, people rejected His message and killed Him and His apostles. After years of darkness and confusion God again has reached out to His children in love. He has restored His original truths taught by Jesus Christ through living prophets. The Book of Mormon is proof of this. We invite all to read it, ponder its teachings and pray for yourself to know whether God has restored His Truth to the earth.

We seek not to prove anyone wrong but to add to the good things that your religion already has. I know God my Heavenly Father loves me. I have felt of His love. He has great concern for all of His children and wants all of them to feel of His love.

I know that He has restored His truth again. It is the Book of Mormon. I know anyone that reads it will feel God’s love and get answers to any concerns or challenges they face. I promise that anyone who seeks out to know Christ and seek to know Him will find out. This is His church restored to the earth today. Please request your free Book of Mormon today and find out for yourself of its truth.


Elder Willoughby

Related Posts

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #7

Daniel by the MTC Christmas tree.

Dan by the MTC Christmas tree

I interrupt the Christmas holidays to present portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s seventh email from the Missionary Training Center, received Christmas Day.

Dear Family,

Yesterday was awesome and again my preparation day is on a holiday so it is crazy. I thank Mark and Connie for sending me the card and I’m grateful they are my friends. :) Thanks Sarah, Derek, but more importantly Bryson for sending the bowling pins and card. Thank you Wards for the wonderful card and pictures of the family — they were great to see this morning. Also thanks to the Dixon family for sending me a card, I really enjoyed what they wrote. I appreciate what the Johnson family sent and I’m very thankful they spent the time to write some insightful things to me. I enjoyed the Santa hat card from the Langs as well. Thank you!!

I got your package Mom as well as one from Kelsey. The card was great too. I haven’t yet opened your package Mom but I will soon. I’ve opened the other packages awhile ago. :-) Thanks Steven for the pictures. You have a really nice camera, I really enjoy the pictures. Its like I’m living the moment, I really like how you try and capture the action and not just people smiling for the camera. Thank you Ada for your great email. I smiled when I read it. I am very happy you married my brother. I’m excited to see what the baby will look like.

So Christmas eve was really exciting. Our teachers all came the whole morning and spent a lot of time with us. We did a lot of activities like Christmas caroling, nativity re-enactment, and watched the nativity video. We shared our favorite scriptures and bore our testimonies of them. Mine was 2 Nephi 4:17. Its about how Nephi rejoices but then calls himself “wretched man that I am.” Later he says I know in whom I’ve trusted. Chapter 4 is so real to me. I want to be like Nephi, he is my hero and I love learning about him. I know I can trust the Lord. I know he loves his children so much and that he will allow me to help his children. I’ve felt of my Heavenly Father’s love so much it makes me so happy, I want others to feel what I have. I deeply love my Father in Heaven right back, I really don’t deserve the blessings he always gives me.

This email is quite long, but its Mom’s Christmas present. David A. Bednar came yesterday night. He brought his youngest son who is married. They all spoke to us. I enjoyed everything his daughter-in-law and son said. So much of what they shared answered my prayers. I am amazed at the time that is spent by Heavenly Father to answer my prayers. Elder Bednar shared a lot too — how to dig into the scriptures and really find things. He took us through step by step. His wife is really funny! Before the meeting starts they show a photo of the speaker. Sister Bednar, when she spoke said something like Elder Bednar is so young and good looking in that photo and totally photo-shopped. Elder Bednar got really red. He he. Then she said can I get a ride home from somebody else? Ha Ha Ha. It was funny.

Afterwards everyone got to shake his hand. Yep, every missionary one by one. I am so grateful that we have apostles that are special witnesses of Christ. I felt the spirit even before he entered the room. I was so happy to see him, I couldn’t stop watching every little thing he did. I really look up to him. I know we have a true prophet and that all apostles really do testify so powerfully of Christ, I know he lives and that he loves me.

Merry Christmas today! I love everyone and I wish the best. Have a great and happy day. Be nice to each other. :)

Love, Elder Willoughby.

Related Posts

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.

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Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #6

Mongolian landscape.

Mongolian Landscape

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s sixth email from the Missionary Training Center.

Hello Family,

I would send pictures often but I only have one chip and it takes forever to get the pictures developed here. If the machine worked I should have some to send tomorrow. I could burn them on CD but the machine charges 3 dollars.

Yes we are expected to leave January 13. I wasn’t sure on it so I didn’t tell you.

It is cold here in Provo, but we rarely are outside. My cold weather things are coming in handy. We’ve heard some cool stories about how cold Mongolia is. When you’re outside and you breathe your breath will freeze and turn into ice crystals. Then the sun shines through it and it sparkles. The sun is always up usually in the winter but its freezing. Very cold -30 degrees F. Its exciting though!

I don’t think I could ever get sick of the routine. I love the MTC. I really enjoy how much opportunity there is to learn here. I couldn’t number how many general authorities I’ve heard from. We get a member of the Seventy some times twice a week. Last Tuesday was Elder Pace.

My companions are great! We get along quite nicely. Last Sunday we were called as Zone Leaders. It’s been really good for our companionship, we’ve grown closer and its been a great incentive for us to continue to work hard. Its been a blessing because we get to meet all the new missionaries and help them. We get to serve them a lot. Its fun giving them tours and telling them all the little tips and tricks to the MTC.

My companion from Samoa, Elder Apo, was excited to see snow. It was his first time ever. He is freezing though coming from an island that was 100 degrees and 100% humidity. We all hope he won’t die in Mongolia.

I again had a wonderful experience in the RC. I talked to an old lady who had several trials. She’s had multiple surgeries and a couple of near death experiences. She had great faith in Christ and his atonement. She just wasn’t sure why she was still alive. She talked for 15 minutes about her trials and I listened. She is so prepared to hear the gospel. I told her about the Book of Mormon, bore my testimony of it and of Christ. She is going to meet with the missionaries and she wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. The spirit told her through me that the missionaries will bring her such joy and the thing she has been waiting for. She will be a great member of the church soon.

Thanks for the pictures Steven. I liked how Sarah’s birthday present was Bryson. He is getting big, he’ll be a good track runner, football, soccer, and basketball player.

I hope Christmas will be fun for everyone. I love you all and I am so happy right now. I am so blessed every day and the Lord always answers my prayers.

Merry Christmas!


Elder Willoughby

Related Posts

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.

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Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #5

Missionaries at the Provo Temple (Daniel 2nd from right).
Daniel and other elders at the Provo Temple

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s fifth email from the Missionary Training Center. Photographs are courtesy of LaRae Warner who’s son is serving with Daniel.

I hope you are enjoying the Christmas season. It is really amazing here. We have Christmas lights and many things to remind us of Christ. I’ve learned a lot about my Savior here. I strive to follow his perfect example.

Thanks for the pictures. I really like the one of Old Rickety. Dad, you look great for being so old!! :)

Thanks for the reminder Jake. I think I’ve been focusing too much on trying to know the scriptures and forgetting PMG has many scriptures in it. We did an exercise yesterday, our teacher gave us a scenario and we had to solve it using the scriptures. She told us she wanted every sentence we said backed up by scripture. It was great! The scriptures are great teachers and it gives validity to what we are teaching. They help us as missionaries be more direct and get the person more willing to commit to become better.

I really love the RC. I got to talk to a very nice man who was getting a free DVD. I asked him what he believed in first and I tried my best to understand it. It really opened him up to what I was going to say. Unfortunately he said he is rarely home and couldn’t meet with the missionaries but I think when the follow up call comes to see if he got the DVD he is going to be really open to discuss what he felt while watching the movie.

This Christmas my perspective has changed. In Mongolia they don’t celebrate Christmas and missionaries work hard the whole day. What a blessing this is! The true meaning of Christmas is doing something to brighten others’ day. It is in giving not receiving. I love the first presidency message by Thomas S. Monson. I’m glad for his great example of giving selfless service always. I want to try and be like him. I know he is a prophet of God and that he leads our church.

I challenge anyone who reads this to try and do one simple thing to makes someone’s day just a little better. Do it in secret. I promise you will feel the true spirit of Christmas and be happier.


Elder Willoughby.

In the photograph: Elders Horan, Apo, Weaver, Bigler, Nelson, Willoughby, and Warner.

Related Posts

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #4

Learning Mongolian.
Learning Mongolian at the MTC

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s fourth email from the Missionary Training Center. Photographs are courtesy of LaRae Warner who’s son is serving with Daniel.

Thanks Steven for the pictures. They look extremely good on this computer. Better than any pictures I remember looking at. Its probably just the person that took them. They didn’t fill up my mailbox at all. I’m at 12% so I think thats a good setting to send them with. The fried turkey looks really good and it looks like thanksgiving was lots of fun. Bryson is growing up really fast and everyone looks really happy. :)

Hello Ashley! Thanks for posting on my dad’s blog for me. I love you a lot too and I miss your wonderful smile. I am doing very well couldn’t be better.

I don’t really care what I get for Christmas. Just send some type of food I can share with my district and that will work just fine.

The MTC is truly amazing! I am really enjoying my time here. Spencer Anderson came yesterday and I was able to talk to him for awhile. That was fun. Also yesterday I had a great experience in the RC (mom ask Jake what it is). I had a lot more faith and I really desired to talk to people so I could help them. I was really surprised by how many more people I talked to. More so just yesterday than my whole time here. It strengthened my testimony that finding people to teach is based a lot off how much faith I have that they can be found. I’m not the best at talking to people but the Lord helps me with my weaknesses.

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Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #3

Daniel learning Mongolian (center).
Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s third email from the Missionary Training Center. Photographs are courtesy of LaRae Warner who’s son is serving with Daniel.

Well today is Thanksgiving so my P-day is just a little messed up. We get to have a General Authority come speak to us today and also do a service project. That is crazy that Sarah and Derek are moving to Texas. I had a friend from Texas and they had only good things to say about it. Try and get Bryson some cowboy boots maybe? Best of luck to the both of you.

Elder Warner told me, Dad, that you were looking at some pictures of me on his mom’s blog. Those are probably the same ones that I took with my camera. I forgot to get my pictures to send but all those were were pictures of my district and one picture of my companions.

Mom, it sounds like you are growing up to be a fine grandma. Working from a Lazy boy sounds like it could be less productive but whatever works. :) I’ve always wanted to drive one of those carts around at Sam’s Club. My leg is perfectly healed. Just like I was saying it just needed to rest to recover. I can now run as much as I want and it never bothers me.

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Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #2

Elder Willoughby by the Mongolian flag on the day he entered the MTC

Elder Willoughby by the Mongolian flag on the day he entered the MTC

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s second email from the Missionary Training Center.

Elder Holland

I am doing great! I am loving being a missionary. We always get a General Authority to come on Sunday and most Tuesdays too. Last Sunday Elder Holland spoke to us. He was very passionate and spoke from his heart. He does a lot of work with missionaries so he has a deep love for missionaries. We all felt how much he loved us when he spoke. He was very inspiring and I am trying to apply what he said. He also is really funny. I guess in general conference they tend to not tell as many jokes. I was laughing really hard some times.

The Savior

He told about when the Savior came to the Americas all the people there listened to him and felt his hands. The Savior told them to go home and ponder the things he said and he would teach them more tomorrow. So all the people went home and told everyone about Him and to come to listen and to hear Him teach the next day. Elder Holland commented, “The only time home teaching has ever worked in the Church.”

I’ll try to get around to sending a picture. I can’t upload any here but I could try and mail a few if I remember, I seem to forget my camera.

We Should All Speak Mongolian

The language is great. It is very complicated but I am blessed with a quick mind and the ability to focus all day. The sentence structure very simply is exactly the opposite of English — it is fun. I think we should all speak Mongolian. We learn so much everyday. Just recently we learned how to buy things. It is amazing how the spirit helps me remember what I learn. We have one elder from Samoa, one from Las Vegas, one from North Carolina, two from Utah, and one from California. The sisters are two from Utah and one from Missouri.

Be Grateful

I am doing great, my leg doesn’t hurt. I can run as much as I want to. I usually just run for 20 minutes or do crunches for a while. Thanks for everything! Stay positive and be grateful for all that the Lord has blessed you with. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us very much and want what is best for us.

Love, Elder Willoughby
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Missionary Dan Email from the MTC #1

Daniel enters the MTC

Daniel entered the MTC October 28, 2008

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s first email from the Missionary Training Center.


The computers are really handy. They are just in the laundry room so on Thursday, my pday, we do laundry and write email. The MTC is way exciting. I am doing great! I have two companions so we are a three-some. Elder Nelson is from Paradise, Utah near Logan. He is the youngest in his family with 4 brothers and 4 sisters. His parents are going on a mission in a week so we’ll see his parents around in the MTC soon, so that is interesting. Elder Apo is from Samoa. It’s a small island in the ocean. He is great! He is always telling us about his home and culture. Where he lives it is always really humid and hot. He said it has never been below 75 F degrees. He is “enjoying” the cold weather.

Food and Teachers

The food is delicious. I get three meals a day. I usually eat lots of fruit with each meal. My leg is much much better. I can run up stairs, walk around fast, do anything but sprint. I have three teachers, Brother Cannon, Sister Infinger, and Sister Marta. Sister Marta is native to Mongolia so we are blessed to have her. Sister Infinger has tons of energy and if anyone says they can’t learn Mongolian she says she’ll eat our arm off. We believe her. Brother Cannon knows how to throat sing. He is way cool.

On Task

My Branch President is awesome and so is his wife. Elder Nelson, my companion, has the position of district leader. I have seen tons of Elders I know. I have seen Elder Van Weezep, Elder Wiser, Elder Hill, Elder Davenport, Elder Buttars, Elder Jensen and many others. I always say Hi to them. I have been amazed at the spirit here. It is constant and very helpful. It keeps me on task and always wanting to serve my best.
Mongolian is great and is making sense. I can see how greatly blessed missionaries are when learning a language. I am able to focus all day — when at home I had trouble focusing for an hour.  I bore my testimony to a new Elder yesterday and many times before that.


My companions and I like to walk around after lunch and speak Mongolian to the other elders. It’s helping to get over the fear of talking to everyone. It’s really easy at the MTC to talk to people though. This Friday we’ll be doing the lessons in Mongolian. Tomorrow we have special permission to teach in Mongolian early since there isn’t many resources for Mongolians here to speak Mongolian. Our lesson last Friday in English went well. Mongolians have no background at all so we are taught to always start from scratch when teaching. We emphasize that God loves them and they are his children. My teacher, Sister Marta, said when the missionaries told her that God loved her she had never heard it before. She always thought of God as someone who punishes. I have learned so much so fast and I am working my hardest everyday. My district has seven elders including me and three sisters. They are great. I am extremely busy but I am enjoying every minute.

Sounds like everyone else is enjoying life. I hope my room was clean enough. The candy in my suitcase was yummy. Bryson has grown a lot of hair! The grayish color he has must come from Rickety. Well my time is up. I enjoy hearing what is going on at home.

Love Elder Willoughby
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Daniel Enters The Missionary Training Center

Daniel and the family at the MTC entrance

Daniel and the family at the MTC entrance

We took Daniel to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) today. All the family came along so we needed two vehicles. Daniel had his parents, siblings, in-laws, and nephew to say good-bye to him at the MTC. Well, Bryson didn’t say anything, he was asleep. In the photograph above, taken by a passing missionary at the entrance to the MTC, are (left to right): Derek holding Bryson, Sarah, Jake, Daniel, Rick, Jill, Adelaide, Steven, and Paul.

But first we took some photographs at home and then headed for the California Pizza Kitchen in Provo. This was our last meal with Daniel so of course I took some more photographs. We entered the MTC on time and Daniel received his missionary badge. We took our last photographs before entering the chapel where taking pictures is off-limits.

No chalk messages to missionaries on the sidewalk

No chalk messages to missionaries on the sidewalk

We began by singing Called To Serve and having a prayer by one of the new missionaries. A counselor conducted, telling us that couple missionaries arrive at the MTC on Mondays and elders and sisters on Wednesdays. He told the parents of a few rules, specifically to not to try and visit your missionary. No chalk messages on the sidewalk, and don’t try to “accidentally” run into your missionary in the Provo temple. He advised that we keep our letters to our missionary upbeat, don’t tell him you’ve given his car and his room away. At least not all in one letter.

Sister Boone, wife of the mission president, spoke next. She told the new missionaries that your role is to invite others to Come Unto Christ. There will be a lot of changes for the missionaries. Changes in walking, talking, thinking, and dressing. We have 800 instructors, all of them returned missionaries that have been carefully selected so that you get the best teaching. We have a lot of volunteers that you get to practice teaching to. They pose as Christian and non-Christian investigators. Our 56 Branch Presidencies will look after you as you are:

…faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:20)

President Joseph Boone began by saying that missions should start at 16 because:

  • They know everything.
  • Their mothers would not cry when they left.

Daniel's missionary badge

Daniel's missionary badge

He cautioned missionaries not to be offended by our repetition. Imagine if the Prophet Joseph had said, “Now Moroni, you’ve already told me that twice.” Elders and Sisters you need to be careful.

President Monson has said that whatever you write home your mothers will read it all in Relief Society. President Boone wanted to put a plug in for missionary work so he warned about the three sins of senior couples: Sins of Omission, Commission, and No Mission.

He mentioned that the most significant publication of the Church in the last 50 years was Preach My Gospel. He said he liked the giant mural that is on a wall at Church Headquarters that depicts Christ before his apostles saying:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)

We continue that commission. Now, after the movie “Called To Serve” I recommend that you say your goodbyes like removing a band-aid — do it quickly.

And so we did. After a few hugs Daniel was gone and we left to go home. In the parking lot we discovered that one of my sons had left the keys in the van ignition. Jill went to get some help in opening the van. Oliver Nielsen of the BYU Police came to our rescue. It took him about fifteen minutes to trip the door latch and we were on our way. A big thank you to Brother Nielsen from all of us! And wherever you are resting tonight Elder Willoughby, sleep well, for tomorrow they are going to work you to death.

Jill places on Daniel his new missionary badge in the MTC foyer

Jill places on Daniel his new missionary badge in the MTC foyer

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