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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lunar Eclipse - April 15, 2014

This lunar eclipse was observed in Kaysville on April 15, 2014 the day before Kristen returned from her mission.
Starting with a full moon
April 14, 2014 - 11:16 PM

Eclipse at about 50%
April 15, 2014 - 12:24 AM

April 15, 2014 - 12:26 AM

Nearly total eclipse.
April 15, 2014 - 12:54 AM

Total eclipse, also known as the "blood moon".
April 15, 2014 - 12:59 AM

April 15, 2014 - 1:00 AM

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pictures April 7, 2014

we're all best friends :)

maybe you can't see in this picture very well but we were playing soccer and I shot at elder staker (blue shirt) and it left a welt. Three days later he had a soccer ball shaped bruise! ooops

and the balloons happened to be given to us that night from one of the elders

April 7, 2014 - Redwood City

Does everyone else realize that this is my second to last email! :( At first the idea of going home was sad but also exciting. Now it's just sad. Yesterday we were at Enrique's house and I reminded him that next Sunday would be my last Sunday and he started crying! I got a little teary-eyed too but I didn't let myself cry.

Enrique is so ready to get baptized but he won't do it! He has a testimony of the restored gospel, bom, joseph smith and comes to church every Sunday but he says he's scared. But he doesn't know what he's scared of. He told us about another dream that he had 3 nights ago. Do you remember the dream he had about his dad (who died 30 yrs ago) coming up to him and asking him to be baptized for him? And that was before we taught him about baptisms for the dead. Well 3 nights ago he had a dream about his uncle (dad's brother) who died 8 years ago coming up to him and giving him a big hug and saying "thank you for helping me. You are the only one that would and could help me". He told us that he knows his dad and now uncle are both waiting for their temple work to get done and yet he still won't set a baptismal date. Nothing could make me happier than to see Enrique get baptized before I leave.

Last week we had a noche de hogar (FHE) with Lourdes and another family in the ward. Lourde's grandkids are the same age as the family's kids so it was perfect. Lourdes was actually a bit shocked when she came over because she was expecting it to be another Latino family but they're very white and blonde. The kids are in Spanish immersion programs and both the parents served Spanish speaking missions. We had dinner, opening song, lesson and closing song. So simple but so powerful. The spirit was so strong and Lourdes looked happier than I've ever seen her. She said the closing prayer and just kept thanking God for allowing her to come meet this family. She said "this was my first time in this house but I know they're my family now and I hope it's not my last time in their home". Without solid members like the Tidwell family the missionaries are honestly so limited in what we can accomplish. Everybody needs to help the missionaries!

On Tuesday our zone got to go to the temple and it was amazingly wonderful! I don't even have the words to explain how perfect it was. I wished we had been able to stay all day. On our way home the family that drove us took the bay bridge which took us right by San Francisco. WOW! Such a pretty city. At least from the view we had. It was the first time that I had been that close to a city that big. I'll send pictures :)

Of course this weekend was General Conference and it was incredible! Jesus came to one of the sessions and so did a man that we met on the street the night before. To me it seemed like the main message was about the importance of following and obeying the lord's standards and not the world's standards. I could write pages and pages about the things I liked and learned but time is short :)  However, I will say that Elder Packer's testimony was just about as powerful as it gets! 

Today is the start of my last week as a missionary. It's a horrible feeling but I'm ready to "leave it all on the track".

I love you all! Dios les bendiga,
Hermana Billings

Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 - Redwood City

 Hello! When I first started looking back on this week to decide what to write it seemed pretty uneventful. Maybe that's because I'm comparing it to 2 baptisms from last week. But a lot of really good things happened this week too! Small things that w ill eventually turn into big things for, perhaps, future missionaries. 
Lourdes and Maria are both doing really well as new members of the church. They've both been invited by a nice family in the ward for FHE for tonight. It really makes a huge difference when the ward gets involved. We can't do everythign by ourselves! Especially things like FHE. Luckily this ward is extremely supportive of missionary work. Which is probably why it's the highest baptizing ward in the CSJM. 
This week the ward put on a movie night activity for recent converts and investigators. We watched The Testaments at the church on Friday night and passed out popcorn and nachos. Enrique, Jesus, Maria and family and Lourdes and family all came! It was a great turnout. We were talking to Enrique a few days before about the movie and I told him that he was going to cry. He laughed and rolled his eyes. He sat in front of us during the movie and sure enough I saw him crying at the end when Christ makes His visit to the America's. I didn't have the heart to make fun of him for it though...but maybe I will tomorrow at our appointment. Oh and speaking of our appoinment tomorrow, he's supposed to have a baptismal date picked out by then!
Before the movie night some of the English elders had a baptism so we invited Enrique and Jesus to come see it. Enrique had to work but Jesus came and he absolutely loved it! He leaned over to the member that was with us and said, "I think the next baptism will be mine!" Afterwards he couldn't stop talking about how amazing the baptism was. To me, it was honestly just another baptism. The spirit is always strong and I always enjoy baptisms but I'm sure I don't appreciate them as much as I should. Jesus on the other hand, seeing a baptism for the first time, was amazed. He just kept saying how wonderful it was. At one point he said, "It's so simple. I can't find anything wrong with it." Later, he was talking to the Spanish elders after the baptism and movie about how he really wants to be baptized now after seeing how it's done. One of the Elders told him that he should get baptized before I go home and Jesus agreed! Then I asked Jesus if he knew when I go home. He said no. So I told him that I go home in two weeks and his jaw dropped and he said, "Oi!" haha it was pretty funny. If he did get baptized before I leave I would be thrilled! But only if it's according to the Lord's will and timing. 
I can't believe that this week is already General Conference! Which means that we get to go to the temple! We'll be making the trip up to Oakland tomorrow. This last Saturday we got to watch the General Women's Conference and it was incredible! I loved seeing all of the 8 year olds there as well. What a great idea to include the younger generation. With all that they're being faced with at such a young age I think it's neccessary to start preparing them. Plus they brought the SWEETEST spirit to the meeting. 
Speaking of children, we helped in the primary this Sunday because they needed a piano player and the primary kids are just so innocent and cute! An older primary child was helping one of the younger children recite the 7th article of faith. The younger one would repeat what the older one was saying but when he said "We believe in the gift of tongues" the younger one looked at the older with the most disgusted look on his face and said, "TONGUES?!" Haha I can only imagine what went through the younger childs mind. Probably a gift box with tongues in it or something! 
Well that's about everything for this week. I hope everyone enjoys General Conference this weekend! I love you all and you're in my prayers!
Love, Hermana Billings

March 2014 Pictures

Redwood City 

Lourdes' baptism.

Lourdes' baptism.

Maria's baptism.

January 2014 Pictures

A couple zones helping out at the Christmas creche

Menlo Park zone! (Biggest zone in the CSJM)

quite the goose egg!
it's been about a week and now my knee is
just a pretty black and purple



me and my comp! (Sister Baird)

Yadira's baptism

Christmas Pictures 2013

Breakfast with Hermano Ruiz- better than a five star restaurant!
Camels at our zone Christmas breakfast....why not?

Melissa Burgueno's baptism
(Sister Bair came back from Livermore for the baptism)

Christmas at the Ruiz's 

Christmas morning with all my presents :)

A church right around the corner from our apartment put on the Christmas story. We helped with the costumes and set for about 2 months. It turned out great!

All of the missionaries that I've photo!
Me and my companion on Christmas eve at the mission wide breakfast

My Christmas present from Elder Peal

Perhaps the funniest picture of my entire mission! The elders were given this sled thing and somehow talked me into taking it for a ride around the library parking lot.
Elders, "hey sisters we have something we want to show you."
Sisters, "okay....what is it?"
Elders, "we'll only show you if you use it"
Sisters, "depends what it is...?"
Elder Perez to elder Barbosa, "see I told you they wouldn't do it"
Me, "I'll do it!"
Elders smile at their success and pull out a giant pinewood derby from their trunk
me, "umm I'm in a skirt"
Elders, "you'll be fine. we'll push you slowly"
And the picture says the rest....elder Barbosa is the one chasing me.
I only got a little scrape on my arm...but the picture of elder Barbosa sprinting after me was worth it!