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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Livermore, CA Pictures - December 2012


The Livermore God Squad
Hermana Billings, Hermana Green, Elder Dimond, and Elder Perez




Home Sweet Away From Home 


Power generators......,
and some wind mills.


Sister missionary apartment - the orange bathroom.


Sister missionary apartment - media library.



Sister missionary apartment - the study.




Sister missionary apartment - walk-up closet.


Hermana Billings at Via Mateo, aka - Matthew Way.
 



Sister Green and Sister Billings sew a blanket for one of the members in Livermore.



Hermana Billings and Hermana Green.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 - Livermore


I forgot to tell everyone that I get to teach all the cute latino kids piano! They really want their kids to learn how to play the piano so that they can play for church. I'm really excited! Piano classes start in January as well as English classes.
Con amor, Sister Billings

December 17, 2012 - Livermore



Hola!! Coma estan? Todas estan bien aqui :) And I got the card reader. My companion and I were both very happy when we got it. And all the other missionaries that want to use it are very happy as well. Thanks for sending it! And I got Andrea's package and I already opened it haha not the wrapped present though. I'll wait for christmas. I'm going to write Jessica and Andrea letters later today. We have a christmas tree to put presents under so it'll be fun to have presents to open on Christmas. What is everyone else doing for Christmas this year? What are the chances that you could send a tiny bottle of pure vermont maple syrup for christmas? Even if it's after christmas...it won't feel like christmas without it! So you said you got my message about the gps from matt...does that mean you want me to send it home? Or should I just keep it? I'm not sure how much time I'll have next pday since it'll be Christmas Eve but I could probably still find time to send it. And my eyes are getting kind of bad..I can't see long distances very well anymore so I might need my glasses if you know where they are. Thank you for sending a christmas package. It hasn't arrived yet but I'm REALLY excited to get it :) Oh and will someone tell the Moody family and the Godfrey family thank you SO much for sending me a christmas card. They were both so nice and thoughtful and it made my day to receive them. I'll try to write them thank you cards but I don't know if I'll have time.
So this past week was AWESOME. When I first got here we only had 3 investigators and none of them were progressing but this week we got 9 new investigators and almost half of them are progressing and one of them has a baptismal date for jan 26. His name is pedro and he was a referal from one of our recen converts (antonio). It was crazy because we had planned on going to the english sister's baptism that day with one of our investigator families but they cancelled and every single one of our plans seemed to fall through and our dinner appointment got changed at least 3 times. But it ended up working out so that we could meet pedro that night and he agreed to be baptized in our first lesson. I got to recite the first vision and extend the baptismal invitation. It was such a neat experience! We taught the lesson outside on his porch in the rain because we couldn't go into his house without another sister but the spirit was still so strong. It was just so amazing how everything ended up working out perfectly and I know it was God's will.
My Spanish is slowly getting better. I can say what I want to say but I really struggle with being able to understand them. I can understand all the Spanish missionaries and other white spanish speakers but the natives are SO hard to unerstand. I think Sunday is the day I am the most discouraged. During branch council and church I just try so hard to follow what's going on but I always end up getting lost. And once I get lost it's really hard to focus again. And it's hard not to know anyone...but I'm slowly making friends. There are a few families that I already feel really comfortable with. I found out yesterday taht our branch is super inactive. Only 25% of the members are active right now. So we're definitely focusing on teaching the menos activos.
Without fail every lesson we go into, someone will ask us about december 21 being the end of the world. I think it's funny but at the same time I realize that it's a real fear these people have. We're so lucky to have the gospel to be able to teach us what to do to be prepared. One sister that has been meeting with the missionaries for a long time all of a sudden decided that she wants to be married THIS tuesday so that she can be baptized. We told her it would take longer than that and she was so frustrated. We couldn't figure out why she was in such a hurry all of a sudden and then she said "well you two don't have to be worried because you're baptized but I have to be baptized before december 21" hahah we both thought it was pretty funny. But She hasn't ever come to church because of work so we definitely have some steps to take before she can be baptized but maybe it's a start.
Last week when we were contacting, two people asked US to come teach them before we even offered. I don't know if it's the fear of the end of the world or the christmas spirit but people have been very receptive to us for the most part.
In preach my gospel it says that the number one reason why people reject the true gospel of jesus christ is not because of doctrinal issues it's because of social concerns and we definitely see proof of that every day. And in 2 nephi it says that satan wil lead people into carnal security. People are content with their lives right now but it really is sad that they don't realize that their eternal salvation is at stake.
One nght we had dinner at a members house and they took us out back to see their chickens and he made me hold one. It was the scariest thing I had ever done, I really didn't want it to poop on me! and then it started flapping it's wings so I threw it at Elder Perez. But chickens are really soft...did anyone else know that? Oh another funny story of the week...they have a program here called "vandalists to vango's" is that funny to anyone else? So they give benches and park garbage cans to kids to paint in hopes of keeping them from vandalizing. one our of investiagators is in the program and he's actually a really good artist.
Just about all of the latino's struggle with saying my name. Who knew it was so hard? And they all ask me how I have blue eyes and dark hair. And then they'll just STARE at me for what seems  like forever. I used to feel really uncomfortable but it happens so often now that I just sit there and smile until they're ready to stop starring at me.
Tomorrow we get to help an investigator make tamales so I'll definitely teach everyone when I get home. Who knew that I actually liked mexican food? But i've really loved all of the meals we've had so far. We even went to a real mexican restaurant and I think I liked it...it was hard to tell because my mouth was on fire. Oh and remember that blanket we made for one of the sisters? I finished it on Saturday and it actually turned out pretty terrible but she still liked it. Also on Saturday we had a zone breakfast with the stake leaders and I realized how important faith is. We exercised so much more faith on Saturday and Sunday and it was AMAZING to see the results. For example, we exercised our faith and promised pedro that if he prayed right then and there about baptism that god would answer him and...well he did! I know we can do all things through god if we have faith. God just really wants us to have joy.
Last thing...did Brother Dowdle call? He's going to tell you how to set up google something or other so that we can skype (only with a different program) and do 3 way so that we can talk to Andrea and Jessica too on christmas. With this program we can have as many people as we want. I guarantee scott and or justin and or matt know what it is...it's in google plus. So please ask them if you need help! and let me know exactly what time we need to call.
Okay I have to go but have a good week and I'm sending pictures in another email! Merry Christmas
Love, Sister Billings

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012


Dear Family-
The first thing I learned when I got to California is it's COLD! Definitely not as cold as Utah is right now but definitely not the weather I was imagning either. Today is the warmest day we've had so far though. I am going to print off some pictures and send them by mail because I don't have a card reader to send them throgh email today. My apartment is so cute! I can't wait for you all to see the pictures. And we have an orange bathroom. I love it! Oh and the best part is our apartment complex has a gym with treadmills so we've gone running every morning. And yes my trainer likes to run too! As soon as I learned that I knew I was meant to be with her!
So sister Green is from Murray Utah like I said and she has been in the field for 12 weeks. We know we're supposed to be together because there are two native spanish speakers right now who are training English sisters this transfer instead of me. So sister Green isn't fluent yet but she's very close and we're learning a lot together. She's like the happiest person I've ever met and we've already had so much fun together. She can definitely help me a lot and she's so patient and encouraging with me.
Okay so my first day. We met President Watkins, his wife and the AP's at the airport and then they took us to San Jose University to go contacting. I actually really love contacting. It's my favorite part of the day. Our goal is 20 contacts a day so 140 a week and we were over our goal this week. Our mission is 0% tracting. Elder Ballard asked us not to as a pilot program. Instead we talk to EVERYONE that we pass no matter where we're going and we are also more focused on "rescuing" so bringing back less active members and then of course getting referrals from them and active members as well.
After contacting we had a super yummy dinner by a sister in the ward at the mission home and then the elders went to the AP's apt to sleep and the sisters stayed at the mission home. President said not to tell anyone but when the elders left he told the sisters to get in our pjs and we watched The Nativity with popcorn and hot chocolate. He LOVES sister missinoaries and I've been told that he spoils us. He is a father of 5 girls and I think 2 of them have served missions. He said as long as we don't cause or create drama then he loves us.
The next morning I met Sister Green and we went to Chilli's with a member. It was kind of hard to follow the conversation 100% in Spanish but I didn't freak out like I was expecting. That night we had a lesson with an investigator and, as I expected, Sister green made me extend the baptismal commitment. It was so scary and I definitely didn't say it with confidence but Sister Green helped me out. She said she's going to pray about it but we don't think she was too interested.
Sorry this email is going to be all over the place but did you get charged a lot of money for the airport call? I've been worried abotu it. Oh and Mom thanks so much for sending that package. I LOVE sleeping in my bed with my own blankets. I've been sleeping SO good here. I don't know if it's because I'm more tired here than I was in California or what but I think a lot of it has to do with having my own blankets. And the chex mix is so GOOD! Sister green loves it too so when we run out we might have to ask for more. The members feed us lunch and dinner just about everyday so we don't eat our own food very often. I've actually been really surprised that I've loved all of the food we've been served so far. Well except one time. Has anyone had papaya? It's horrible. She asked if we wanted fruit and I love fruit so I was excited and it looked like cantaloupe so I took the plate with more on it and honestly...I almost threw up. Sister green had already taught me that it's super offensive not to finish so I was praying the entire time that I would be able to eat it without throwing up.
All the days have kind of meshed together but somewhere in the past 4 days or however long I"ve been here we've extended 3 baptismal invites and I did all of them...because sister green knows I need to practice. One was in English though. And we've taught lots of lessons. I don't know how many. No baptismal dates....yet. Sunday was really busy. We go to branch council every sunday and that was definitely the hardest to keep up with. I don't think I understood anything that was said. But the sunday school and relief society lessons were easier to understand. Oh and no one plays the piano so I'm the new ward piano player. It used to be sister green but she can only play the right hand.
I already have a few favorite people. One family is the Perez family. They're all recent converts and so awesome! The parents are going to be sealed in May so I really hope I'm still around Livermore when that happens. It's so sad how little these families have though but they're just so grateful for the gospel. One man (gilberto) was telling us how he doesn't have a lot of money but he's content because he has the gospel. It broke my heart.
So story short I LOVE being a missionary. It's a thousand times better than I could have ever imagined. It's also a thousand times harder than I could have imagined but there are ALWAYS tender mercies every single day that get us through the day. Oh also mom, thanks SO much for teaching me how to sew. We went to a sisters house who has breast cancer to do service and she wanted us to make her a blanket for her new grandson. I thought we were going to HELP her but she wanted us to do it for her and sister green didn't know how to use a sewing machine. It definitely didn't turn out as well as your blankets but it still looked like a blanket and I was so happy that I could help.
My ipod speakers are blown out and the music sounds horrible so if anyone is still offering to get me a christmas present an i home would be so great! We only have one cd and we're already sick of it. I'll look at costco today and also someone can ask Matt if he has one because I think he said he had extra speakers.
Here's my address:
 
1736 Paseo Laguna Seco Apt #124
Livermore, CA 94551
 
Dad I know which track photo you're talking about. I have it on my facebook under the HS track pics album and also I think the original is with my hs track scrapbook. Mom probably knows where that is.
 
Sister Green says hi! Oh and we can skype on Christmas so does morning or afternoon work better? And the member's house that we're going to said he'll need your username so that we can add you and have it all ready to go on Christmas. The members are SO nice here. And most people on the streets are nice too. We've definitely talked to some not so nice people but the nice ones make up for that.
I know the gospel blesses families and I'm SO thankful that our family has the gospel. I want every family to have the gospel!!! It's so easy to live the gospel and be happy. When we don't live the gospel we're not happy. Sooooo why not live the gospel? 2 nephi 4:27-30...why would we ever yield to temptation and sin when it just afflicts our soul?
My time is almost up so I need to go but I'm really looking forward to hearing from everyone real soon!!! Have a good week.
Love, Sister Billings

Friday, December 7, 2012

Last Days at the MTC - December 2012

I pestered Kristen for weeks to get me a picture of her barefoot at the MTC and she sent this fitting pose. 
"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" - Romans 10:15
 
 

Hermanas Johnson, Billings, Snow, and Connely prepare to leave the MTC.

December 5, 2012-San Jose


I made it to San Jose! We met our mission president and wife right when we got off the plane and then we went street contacting at the University. It was so fun! The weather is awesome and my trainer is Sister Green from murray utah. I'll be in livermore for my first area. I haven't met her yet but I'm the only new spanish sister so he already knew who my trainer would be. My p-day is on Monday so I will be able to write a longer email then!
Love, Sister Billings

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2012-MTC

Did I mention I get to call home on Wednesday? I'm still not exactly sure if I can call home when I get to the Salt Lake airport or the San Jose one but should I call the home phone? That's what I'm planning on. And I bought a calling card with 500 minutes...only it takes 129 to make the call in the first place. So hopefully you can answer the first time? My flight leaves SLC at 835am so if I call from there it'll be 7 or 730? Not sure. But sometime in the morning so make sure you're awake :) And then I'll be in California at 1036am (Utah time) so I might be calling closer to 11. Dad will you be able to stay home from work that late in case I can't call until I'm in California? Also, I don't know how it'd be possible to talk to Andrea and Jessica too...so if anyone has ideas let me know! 

So this week has been pretty crazy with getting ready to leave for the field. And it's gone by even faster than most other weeks. I'm over my cold now...which means I stopped taking my cold medicine at night which means I'm not sleeping as good anymore haha. Our teachers think (at least they say) that our Spanish is more advanced than any other district they've taught. They might tell that to every district though. I feel like I technically understand everything they teach us, I just can't quite apply it to my speaking yet. But when I write and can take my time with everything I do a lot better. Unfortunately I won't be writing lessons to my investigators though huh? In our fireside last Sunday we learned about the importance of saying positive things to people...especially when labeling them. Make sure you only use labels that Christ would. We also learned, from an old Elder Bednar fireside, the importance of our missions. This mission isn't an "experience" that will be over in 18 months...it's training for the rest of my life and it will shape the kind of person I am. I only have 16 months left to shape the kind of person I will be for the rest of my life! Well obviously there will always be growth and progress throughout my life but 16 months just seems so short. I just pray that I'll always have the desire that I have right now from being in the MTC for 2 months and that is to bring others unto Christ. 

I also realized this week how AWESOME the plan of salvation is. I've never studied it like I have these past two months. We are so lucky to know where we came from before this earth, why we need to experience earth life and what happens once we leave this earth. Such a blessing. I think I've just always taken it for granted. I don't know how you (my parents) talked me into taking piano lessons but I have been so shocked how many people DON"T know how to play the piano. I've been able to play a lot for workshops etc and I think I've taken that talent/ability for granted a lot of my life too. But it's been fun to be able to help out through playing the piano. My kids better take piano lessons. Our Devotional on Tuesday was with a member of the 70 Elder and Sister Gavarret and they were native Spanish speakers with real thick accents but it gave me hope that if they can learn English then I can learn Spanish. And sister gavarret bore her testimony in Spanish and I understood it! It was so cool!! But then she switched to portuguese half way through and I could only pick up a few words and didn't realize she had switched languages until someone told me. Listening to them speak gave me this huge love for latinos and I'm so excited to be working with them next week! I want to share my testimony in Spanish so you can see where I am at the end of my MTC experience...then after my mission we can compare and see how much I thought I knew leaving the MTC...but really didn't: (I bore my testimony in Spanish to our district on Wednesday but it's going to be hard to type because I don't know where the accents are. And I'm sure there are tons of errors!)

Yo tengo gracias a mi Padre Celestial por la oportunidad yo tengo estar aqui en la CCM y preparar servir El y a mis hermanos y hermanans en San Jose. Yo se que sin ninguna duda en mi corazon que Jesucristo vive y cada dia yo siento el amor de Dios y Jesucristo por mi. Yo se que Jesucristo es mi salvador y a traves su Expiaction puedo regresar y vivir con mi Padre Celestial otra vez. Estoy muy agradecido por el Evangelio en mi vida especialmente que mi padres han ensenado estas cosas a mi. Yo se que si obedece los mandamientos, tenga paz y gozo en mi vida. Mas importante yo se que Jose SMith fur un profeta de Dios y hoy tenemos profetas qui gian la Iglesia a traves revelacion de Dios. Tambien, yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero y contiene la plenitud del Evangelio. El Libro de Mormon es un otro testimonio de Jesucristo. Yo ouedo testificar que estas cosas son verdaderas porque el Espiritu Santo ha confirmado. Y yo se que todas personas pueden saber estas cosas son verdaderas timbien a traves el Libro de Mormon y oracion a Dios. Yo digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amen.

So did anyone know what I said? :) Does Liana have her mission call yet? I swear within the last week every single building is now under construction to prepare for all the new missionaries coming in next year. I'm actually really happy that I'll be gone by then...it's going to be hectic. Our classroom is getting changed into sisters residence so we moved on Thursday to a new buildling...that is super old. Probably similiar to what Dad had while he was here. Tiny desks etc. I guess we were pretty spoiled our first 8 weeks here with padded rolling chairs and big desks and computer labs. But we'll only have 3 more classes in that room. I finished the book of mormon on wednesday...so I read it 1.5 times since I've been here. I was in helamen when I first got to the MTC so I re-started it about a month ago. I can't remember. But that book is SO awesome. And SO true. How could a book that testifies of jesus christ and the bible on just about every page NOT be the word of god? No se. 

Yestereday we had in-field orientation all day and it was really helpful. It made me realize that I really am leaving and I really will be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with people everyday all day. But it sounds SO fun! And hard. But mostly fun. I realized everything I've been taught here is contrary to what I've been training for the past four years of my life: "Success is given from constant dilligence, not sudden bursts of energy"  What?? I'm a sprinter not an endurance runner! But oh well...I just keep relating it to training for those races. That definitely required constant dilligence. I'll try to comment on everyone's letters now:

Dad- I got a foot picture for you but not by an MTC sign. I don't know where you've been seeing pictures of it...but no one here seems to think it exists. So hopefully you're okay with the one I got. It's on the statue where the missionaries are biking across the world. Not sure if i'll be able to send it today or not. But I will be sending my card home one day. They've taught us a lot about effective ways of finding people whom the lord has prepared to hear the gospel and tracting was not one of them. They did mention the internet as a way...not facebook but some missions do set one up. Mainly using mormon.org to help them answer faq. But that story really is cool. I think you're right...that the elders were led by the spirit through technology. I don't think God allowed the internet to be invented for people to do their christmas shopping. He also has better ideas in store. Sounds like the kitchen is definitely coming along. You'll have to send pictures soon. I think my texas airline ticket was about 300 and then I used my voucher. So 387 might not be too bad. How early did you have to get in line for black friday? I did that once...last year....never again. I don't miss christmas shopping this year. Just the Christmas music. And dad I'm gonna tell you what we tell all of our investigator's when talking about the word of wisdom..you only get ONE body for your entire life on earth so you better take care of it. Did you get your foot in a boot yet? It doesn't sound like you'll be doing soccer next year. Oh and horror stories about the overcharges at the airport for making calls..they charge 20$ a minute if you use your debit card. So I'll just use my calling card. And I can call home for christmas too. 

Mom- thanks for checking my bank account. Did the christmas tree get decorated? I want to see lots of christmas pictures! Will christmas be at your house? And I don't know what the best form of mail will be while i'm in california. Maybe snail mail or email..i guess dearelder still works but you have to pay for it right? Thanks for sending my package! I'm excited to get it. And I have some clothes that I won't be taking to california with me. Actually maybe just one skirt. I might put it in the donation box I don't think it's worth sending home. It's the pink skirt that I already had and it's pretty old so I don't think I'll miss it. So you've mentioned a lot about member missionary work and we talked about that A TON in our workshop yesterday. I don't have time to write everything but here is what needs to happen for anyone to be converted and you can help in any and all of them:
Be invited to investigatte, be taught the missionary lessons, read from the book of mormon, pray, attend sacrament and other meetings, live the commandments including the word of wisdom, law of chastity, law of tithing, fast and hold fhe etc. There are more but those are a few examples. I wish I could role play with you. We role play ALL The time and it's super helpful. Role play with dad haha it'll be a fun fhe activity. Plus your example of how you live and how you've raised your family is missionary work in and of itself. 

Andrea and Jessica- I don't have time to email you back so i'm gonna write both of you real letters before i leave the MTC. I got the package you two sent and I'm so excited to open it!! But i'll wait until christmas even if it kills me. And andrea yes you can give him my address but you should probably wait until I have my california address. Thanks for asking! Jessica I LOVED The pictures of ethan and alex. Super cute. 

Okay I have to go but I'll talk to you soon!
Love, Hermana Billings.

Friday, November 23, 2012

MTC photos - Thanksgiving

MTC Thanksgiving Program

Christmas lights at the MTC - Sister Snow & Sister Billings

Sister Billings & Sister Snow making education kits for African children.

November 23, 2012-MTC

!Feliz dia de Gracias! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! Sorry if I'm not replying to anyone that wrote me yesterday or today. We won't get mail until tonight because of the holiday. But mom, I did get your Thanksgiving letter. Thanks! It was nice to get one last letter before the holiday. I'm glad President Lee spoke about Missionary Work. They teach us a lot about the importance of getting members involved. I've never read the Joseph Smith History by his mother all the way through but now I'm wishing I did. It's crazy that SO many people put SO much trust and faith in Joseph Smith. And are willing to sacrifice their entire lives for what he has taught. Why do we trust him so much? Especially when we've never even met him? Because through the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and Joseph Smith Translations of the Bible we grow SO much closer to Jesus Christ and learn SO much more about Jesus Christ. It's pretty simple. There is so much evidence that he is a prophet of God. This Thanksgiving I am most grateful that because of Joseph Smith I have this knowledge of the gospel and the Book of Mormon. But most of all I am grateful for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his example of perfection. 

So tell me all about Thanksgiving! Was it at mom and dad's house? Who came? What did you eat? Are you already putting up Christmas decorations? I think I'm going to miss decorating for Christmas more than I'll miss the actual holiday. But they did put up nice Christmas lights here at the MTC. I sent a picture with the lights...hopefully you can see them. So I'll tell you what Thanksgiving was like at the MTC. It was actually so much fun I loved it! In the morning Elder Holland came and spoke to us. He had a few of his really cute grandkids do musical numbers and/or share their testimonies. He talked a lot about the this final dispensation and how every other dispensation has known that they will end in apostasy but we know that this dispensation will finally end in victory. It should put weight on our shoulders to get the work done. He also said that our future families will be equally as important as missionary work but NOTHING is more important that this mission because for 24/7 we are engaged in the salvation of a human soul...starting with our own and taking it to as many people as we can. It's just so true! I can't believe I even considered serving a mission as a sacrifice because it really is a huge blessing AND responsibility. He also talked about how we are part of God's family so he is working just as hard to get us to return and live with him. He wants to live with his entire family again just as we want to live with our families again when we die. Everything god does is to bring about the eternal life and salvation of men. For Thanksgiving Dinner (lunch) we had turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and pie (well that's what I had...but they also had stuffing and rolls etc.) So it felt just like a normal thanksgiving! Really good food and I ate until I was stuffed. I actually out ate all the elders in my district haha Elder Christensen was like, "I just don't understand where it all goes!" We then went to a Thanksgiving Program thing where I was in a skit as an Indian Princess (I sent pictures of that). They told the story of the first Thanksgiving and then we sang "Over the River and Through the Woods" All the missionaries went wild being able to sing a non-church hymn for once. I actually didn't know that song was about Thanksgiving until we sang it. Then we worked on a humanitarian project and made 4200 education kits and 4500 health kits for children in Africa (I think the city was ouelessebougou...maybe Scott will know?) We finished the night off watching 17 Miracles and they handed out bags of kettle corn for everyone. That movie will make ANYONE realize just how grateful we should be. And how blessed we are! Elder Holland also said that we have the opportunity to do more in one day than our ancestors had to do in an entire lifetime. 

So for the rest of the week it was pretty typical. Nothing exciting happened on Sunday...no apostles or spur of the moment testimony bearing opportunities but it was a great day. Well it was raining so we couldn't go on a temple walk..instead we had a mormon messages movie night in our classroom until dinner time. Super relaxing...Sunday's aren't going to be relaxing once I'm in California I'm sure. Our fireside that night was on the importance of staying healthy and how , if we want to be 100% obedient,  we need to workout at least 30 minutes a day. I was happy to hear that! Now my companions won't have any excuse about working out with me. Yay :) Funny story of the week...we were talking to our investigator about what to expect after he gets baptized (which will be on Saturday) and I was trying to explain that the bishop will most likely give him a "calling" so that he has the opportunity to serve others. Well I said "The lord will call you as a servant" He couldn't stop smiling but he didn't tell me what I had said until after the lesson. 

Everyone started getting sick a few weeks ago and I told my companion that I wasn't worried because I never get sick. Well Lo and Behold I was the only one that got sick. Well and another Elder in our district. And Elders at this age really don't know how to take care of themselves without their mom. I had to buy him medicine haha But I've been sleeping so great because the medicine I take every night knocks me out. Maybe I should have gotten sick earlier. Hopefully I'll be better before California. Which reminds me...we got our travel plans. I leave for San Jose on December 5. My flight is at 730 or 830 I can't remember. All I know is I have to be at the travel office at 5am. The rest of my district leaves December 4 ( including my comp) So i don't know what I'll do by myself for that entire day. We're supposed to go to the travel office to figure it out but it's been closed for the holiday. 

Mom did you find anything out about my bike? And are you going to be able to send that stuff to cali? 

Our devotional on Tuesday was about the importance of using our agency. God created things to ACT and things to be ACTED UPON. If we don't choose to act then we are choosing not to use our agency. Especially as missionaries we need to act...we can't be passive because people NEED the gospel of Jesus Christ. Once we realize that someone's salvation is at stake we are able to realize how important missionary work really is. Being a member of this church is not just a lifestyle or a social group...it's the difference of salvation. I don't think I realized how big of a deal missionary work was/is when I decided to serve. But I am gaining an understanding of it now. Most people have lost hope and so they stop acting. Satan wants us to lose our agency so he takes away our hope. The gospel of Jesus Christ restores that hope. Everyone on this earth has already exercised their hope in Jesus Christ by choosing to follow God's plan and to be on this earth in the first place.

Anyway...sorry this wasn't the most exciting update. One more week in the MTC and then I'm sure I'll have lots of exciting stories to share from California. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I hope to hear from you soon! Take care and God Bless
Love, Sister Billings

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012-MTC

Well Sunday is definitely turning out to be the day with all of the excitement. Last Sunday I met an apostle of the lord Jesus Christ...face to face...and shook his hand. It was so neat! We were leaving breakfast Sunday morning, walking down the same hall that we always do and I saw President Brown (MTC pres) walking down another hall with two other men (who I thought were just some missionaries). So I waved to him...he's really easy to recognize from far away because he has bright white hair. Anyway, he said "Sister Billings come down here for a minute" So we walked over there and I was just looking at Pres Brown I didn't notice the other people he was with. Then he said (to one of the men) "Shake the hands of Sister Billings and Sister Snow" and I thought he was just introducing us to some new missionaries. So I look up to shake someones hand and I'm staring right at Elder Bednar. My jaw literally dropped and I said "Oh! Hi!" He actually laughed at my startled expression. Later that day we ran into President Brown during lunch and he said that he told Elder Bednar "the missionaries don't get better than that" and Elder Bednar said, "I could feel it" Not like he would ever say "umm...i've met better" but I'll take what I can get from an apostle. And I can't believe I got to shake his hand. He works DIRECTLY under Jesus Christ...that's all I could think about the rest of the day.  Remember how President Brown asked me to get up and bear my testimony? Everyone was saying that's exactly why you don't make friends with President Brown....well now I'm definitely glad that I did. I was glad I did before he introduced me to Elder Bednar though. 

I used my jump rope last week and my calves were so sore for like 2 days! And I only did it for 10 minutes. My comp doesn't want to stay for gym for the whole 50 minutes anymore so it's killing me to not get as much gym time. But at least I still get some. And I'm learning to compromise with others.
My teacher said not to read Jesus The Christ anymore until I'm out in the field. I'm supposed to just focus on reading the scriptures, especially the book of mormon, and preach my gospel. I was really starting to enjoy Jesus The Christ though. I got a letter from Liana about her decision to serve a mission. That is so neat! Will someone tell her thatmyfashioncorner.com is a really good place to get missionary clothes? If I knew about it before I would have bought all my clothes there. They have a small selection from myfashioncorner in the MTC and I bought a new skirt and white collar blouse. And the prices are really reasonable. Speaking of missions...in D&C i think section 79 there is a mission call calling John Carter to the same mission AGAIN (I think to Vermont) and I had the thought that one day it would be so neat if everyone's mission calls were re-instated and if they were in any possible condition to serve again to go back to their mission. Wouldn't you want to go back to France again dad? Everyone would be a full time missionary until Jesus Christ came again. Sounds like a perfect world to me :) 

We taught our first 40 minute lesson on Tuesday (usually they're 20) and it was surprisingly easy. Well easier than I thought it would be. I'm so surprised at how much Spanish we've learned. It's a miracle. Has anyone heard of John C. Tanner? I hadn't...so if you haven't either I HIGHLY recommend searching for the video of him about the Law of Consecration. It might be on lds.org 

On Wednesday we got to host the new missionaries and it was SO fun! At first I didn't want to do it because we had to miss Gym...but it was worth it. The first sister I hosted is going to San Jose, leaving the same day as I am! So we'll get to travel together. She also went to school at BYUH and served in the RS presidency with Aysia. Aysia if you're reading this her name is Brittany (and then some samoan last name which I can't remember or pronounce) What are the odds? I'm excited to have finally met a sister that will be going to the same mission as I am. Especially leaving on the same day. My teacher's girlfriend's litter brother also entered the MTC and will be leaving for San Jose the same day. He's already fluent in Spanish and the other sister is going english speaking. The second sister I hosted went to Davis and was on the track team..she's one year older than me though and will be serving in Arcadia, Ca. 

So during class one day I had THE weirdest experience. Hmno Wright was sharing a story with us about when he was younger and he was speaking in Spanish but I honestly understood everything. Usually I have to translate word for word. As soon as he was done with his story though I had to go back to translating word for word. For a second I thought that he had told the story in English. I can't explain it....but it was weird. I also had my first experience with transfers and having to pack my bags super fast. We were asked to move up to the fourth floor in our building so that they could do construction on our floor. I am now on the top bunk and I almost die every single time that I try to go down the ladder in the dark. 

Andrea- Those pictures of Boston were SO cute!!! I wish I could print them out. As soon as I get to Cali I'm printing out all the pictures of Boston, Ethan and Alex. Dad you're right...I should have brought a little photo album. But I can buy one here. You should have seen everyone's reaction when I told the district they were making a sequel to Boy Meets world. Is it the same actors? Actually some of the elders were too young to even know what Boy Meets world is. But all the sisters and a few of the older elders were really excited. And thanks for sharing your thoughts about God being in control...that's a lesson that I definitely need to learn too. No matter how much I study I still can't learn what I need to without his help. Especially with the Spanish. I need His help. ANd I don't know that'd I'd be able to communicate with the construction workers either...well I could definitely teach them about Jesus Christ and modern day prophets but other than that I can't speak spanish. At least not yet. 

Mom- yay I'm glad you can eat grains now! Is that your first time reading the entire old testament? I wonder if I'll ever read it...haha I've only tried the one time but I haven't read from it since I got to the MTC. Guess what? The first day that I missed scripture reading (personal studying...not just reading) in TWO years was the first day of my mission. Ironic right? Oh well. ANd about the book..I have no idea. I bought it for Matt and he said he got it. So they shouldn't be refunding me if he has it. You'll be sending my bedding to cali in about a week right? Could you include some other things too? My green shirt with white stripes, maybe my green dress but I can't remember if we put a hem on it. If not don't send it. All my belts...haha the black one, white one, brown one...I think that's all. Just the bigger ones...not all of them. And the other bottles of lotion that I left. I think I left two..and they should be full. I've already gone through one bottle. If you have room maybe send me a hoodie. One of my thin track hoodies...either black or blue. I don't know if I'll need it in cali but I've been wanting one here. Also, could you check about shipping my bike to cali? If it'd be cheaper than buying one there. Someone said it's about 200 but that's cheaper than buying it there. So I dunno. 

Dad- I can definitely see how athletics has helped me up to this point. I didn't think it would be similar at ALL but it really is. I'm still looking forward to the day that I'll be able to think in Spanish. I'll let you know when that happens. I didn't count how many times we pray a day but I know it's right around 15 as well. They actually said they're trying to get away from the importance of saying kneeling prayers so my knees don't have callouses. I probably only say 6 kneeling prayers a day. The rest we are either sitting or standing. Did they have 4 square when you were here? That's one of my favorite games to play...they don't let the sisters play soccer. But they might take it away from the elders too because so many are getting hurt. And they don't have the MTC sign thing anymore. I guess they took it out during some construction a few years ago. Where else would you like the foot picture? 

Aysia- I love that you pretend like you're in Harry Potter for your astronomy class. That is awesome!Thank you so much for writing me I wish I had time to write more! And If you don't want to pay for postage you can use dearelder :) Your Halloween sounded awesome. I think this is the first year in 21 years that I didn't watch hocus pocus for halloween. My favorite part about the MTC is the Tuesday Night devotionals. We always have a general authority and it's always super inspirational. I also love the high standards and strict rules...and busy schedule. And the graham canyon ice cream. Favorite part about the mission is learning spanish and learning how to help others. 

Grandma- Thank you so much for writing me! I was really happy to receive a letter from you. I didn't know that Obama spoke Spanish? Or did he have an interpreter? I'm glad the Lord has been watching out for AUnt Ellen and Steve and their home didn't receive any damage and I'm glad your house is all ready for winter! 

Jessica- How do the boys like their batman cave? You should send me a picture!! 

Well my time is up! God Bless everyone!
Love, Sister KK

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9, 2012-MTC

Dear Family-

I've been a missionary for over a month now and I still feel like I haven't left for my mission yet. I keep thinking my mission starts once I get to California. So daylights savings time as a missionary is like Christmas. I have never enjoyed an extra hour of sleep more than I did last Sunday. It felt like 4 extra hours and I loved it! Remember how I was called to speak in church two Sunday's ago? Well this last Sunday was Fast Sunday so we had a two hour mission conference with the MTC presidency and all the missionaries. At the end of the meeting President Brown stood up and said "well we have some extra time so I would like to hear the testimony of a couple missionaries" Who does he call first? Sister Billings. So I bore my testimony in front of 2,000 missionaries. Definitely a new experience for me. When I got up there the first thing I noticed was all the tele-prompters and I was excited to see what they actually looked like but they didn't have any words on them...so I am still wondering how they work. On the podium there was a little tv screen of myself and it made me realize that I was not only talking in front of 2,000 people but I was on camera being displayed on two screens like 30 feet big. I don't really remember all that I said but I've been told it was recorded and I can watch it if I want to. I do remember bearing my testimony about prayer and the personal relationship we can have with our heavenly father and I mentioned something about doing the will of the Lord. After me he called Elder Christensen who is my district leader. I don't think President Brown knew we were in the same district but our branch president was very happy that two members of his branch got called...and from the same district. Elder Christensen knows president brown fairly well because his dad works at the MTC. I have talked to President Brown a few times while in the cafeteria but I was shocked that he remembered me. He even remembered that I was a runner (or used to be a runner) and that I went to davis etc. Some people, like president brown, are just really good at being personal. Anyway, that day I felt like a celebrity. Everywhere we went people kept mentioning my testimony and by the end of the night I was so excited to change my clothes because I knew no one would be able to recognize me anymore once I did. No one recognized Elder Christensen because he looks just like all the other elders. It was an amazing experience though and whatever I said was completely lead by the spirit. AND I didn't even get nervous mainly because I didn't have time to even think about what was going on. 

I didn't run one day this week for the first time since I've been in the MTC because I have really bad shin splints from the track. It has super tight corners. But I found a record board that they have of push-ups, sit-ups, dips etc. and my new goal is to beat all of the girl records. Well probably not all of them. But I realized how competitive I am and it's definitely something I need to work on. Dad why isn't your name on the soccer juggling record? 

Yes I heard that President Obama was re-elected. They put it on the menu that morning during breakfast. And they let us read the first presidency message. We heard a rumor that Obama wants to bring in Romney for help? True? And Romney won the popular vote right? I don't understand our political system at all...shouldn't the president be whoever the most people vote for? Maybe I should take an American Government class when I get back because I don't understand that at all. That day we spent the whole class talking about the second coming of the messiah and all the signs of the times. It was very interesting although we didn't learn any Spanish. I think it's interesting that the Lord has called (what...500%?) more missionaries at this time. We were told that the applications they received for sister missionaries within once month since the announcement is more than the amount of sister missionaries we have serving in the entire world right now. Speaking of sister missionaries we taught this cute 18 year old girl at the TRC this week who is deciding if she wants to serve a mission. She was asking all sorts of questions about why we chose to serve etc. and at the end she fills out an evaluation sheet about how we taught and at the end there is a question that says "what do you want to do as a result of their teaching?" and she put "serve a mission". I just kept telling her that any sacrifice you have to make will be worth it and you will never regret a decision to serve the Lord. I hope she really does choose to serve. 

My goal this week has been to study the character of christ (again...I think that was my goal last week). But I've been reading Jesus The Christ and I love it. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet. If you can't get into it, skip to like chapter 7 because the beginning is pretty slow. Oh and everyone asked if it wasn't Gordon B. Hinckley that came so speak to us who was it? Someone from the 70. I can't remember his name now but I wrote it down....somewhere. And he spoke in conference. That probably doesn't help at all sorry. 

Funny story of the week: last night during class we were talking about the restoration of the gospel and it was really quiet. My leg was stuck to  my chair (they cushions are that leathery material) and when I moved my leg it made a loud farting noise and I said "Oh my gosh that was the chair" but my face went super red and everyone laughed. I bet some people really thought I farted. But either way it was SO loud so I was really embarrassed. 

Jessica- Cute pictures! None of alex? And is someone going to send me some from the night of Halloween. I laughed so hard when you told me mom got scared by the dancing skeletons because she had mentioned them in her letter to me. Funny visual in my head. And you said I look like such a missionary in my pics....what exactly does that mean?? haha and which pictures did you guys receive? Dad which ones did you put on the blog? Do you know which one is my companion? The shorter blonde is Hermana Connelley and her comp is the one with the glasses. The other one is my comp (hermana Snow). I'm glad your new calling is keeping you busy! And thanks for updating me about the world :) I can't believe the kids ate all their candy in two days! 

Karla- thanks for you letter last week! How's your horse? You asked if my letters home were my journal...I want to print off my blog when I get home but I also write in my journal every night. I've missed one night because we had a member of the branch presidency come talk to us and she stayed late so I didn't have time. 

Mom you asked what the TRC is...training resource center I believe. It's just one of the buildlings on campus where we go to practice teaching lessons in Spanish. I feel like myself in those lessons so they're my favorite. The other lessons (Where we teach an investigator) I almost feel like I have to act like a certain character because that's what our teachers do (they pick a character to act like). 

Dad your soccer story was so funny. I was wondering what you were doing playing soccer. And what exactly do you want in your foot picture? Me with no shoes? In front of the MTC sign? My comp got a card reader so I think I"ll be able to send pictures home now. Maybe next week? 

Well the language is coming finally but I want to learn ALL of it before I head to California...which I know isn't possible. But I leave in almost three weeks!! Can't wait to hear from you all soon and thanks for your love and support :)
Love, Sister Billings

Friday, November 2, 2012

October 2012 MTC photos

Pictures from Hermana Connelly, Provo MTC October 2012. 
 
 
 
Left to right: Hermanas Snow (Kristen's MTC companion), Billings, Connelly, and Johnson, October 2012.

 
Hermanas Billings, Snow, Johnson, and Connelly

 
The MTC district.

 
Hermana Snow and Hermana Billings

 
Where in the world is Hermana Billings? 
 


 
 Look out world, here we come!
 

 

 

November 2, 2012-MTC



I can't believe that tomorrow will be exactly one month since I've been a missionary. Weird. Time goes by really fast...I need more time! So mom the investigators that we teach are our teachers. We have two teachers and we switch off teaching them for 20 minutes everyday. They act like investigators that they taught while on their missions and they don't break character so it's pretty easy to take it seriously. It's really fun and a really good learning experience. They always tell us funny mistakes we made during the lessons too. We also go to the TRC every Tuesday and teach two 20 minutes lessons to members who are either native Spanish speakers or know Spanish from their own missions etc. It's more like a visiting or home teaching lesson since they're already members. It's more relaxed because we don't have to worry about extending commitments. The TRC is my favorite and I always learn so much. My companion doesn't like it though. The guy in our last lesson made her cry because he kept correcting her Spanish. He was correcting mine too but I liked it. Thank you for sending me more tights. It was actually really warm this week so I didn't even wear them but I talked to an Elder who lived in San Jose and he said it gets pretty cool there so I'll probably end up wearing them there. Hopefully I won't need you to send me any more stuff...at least for awhile!

I voted last Friday...someone better write and tell me who the new president is (hopefully new). We don't hear anything in this place. Apparently there is a huge storm on the east coast? Anyone wanna fill me in on details? Is it near Grandma? On Sunday our district did a musical number and I played the piano. I also got called to speak so I gave my first talk in Spanish. It was fun! I'm sure I made a ton of mistakes...I know of one for sure. The talk was on baptism and I was talking about my friend on the track team who made a TON of changes in his life, got baptized and is now married in the temple. The word for tired is cansado and the word for married is casada. Well I said cansado "He is now tired in the temple" Luckily I noticed it though and corrected myself haha. Okay going back to the musical number...I was so nervous for some reason and I knew my hands wouldn't stop shaking and when my hands shake I always mess up so I was actually praying that they would call me to speak because it always calms me once I get up there. So when they called my name I was SO relieved and once I was up there speaking my hands stopped shaking and I was able to do the musical number right after without messing up. Maybe that's weird that I wanted to be called to speak but it helped. I also guessed correctly who the speaker would be two weeks ago and then I told everyone that it would be me this week so now they're all asking me who I think it will be next week. My president said that if he had known I was doing a musical number they wouldn't have called me to speak but I told him I was glad they did. President Roch (one of the MTC presidency members) was visiting in our sacrament meeting that day (which made me even more nervous for the musical number) but when he got up to speak after my talk he said it really is a miracle how much Spanish the missionaries learn in such a short amount of time.

Every time we sing "We'll Bring the World His Truth" I get major chills and feel the spirit so strong when we say "we are now the Lord's missionaries" I love being able to say that I am the Lord's missionary. We watched a film of a talk that Elder Bednar gave about the Character of Christ and how even when Christ was at his very lowest he still turned our towards others. For example, after he suffered in the garden of gethsemane and his apostoles ( I can't remember how to spell that in English) fell asleep and he got betrayed and handed over to the guards (then peter cuts off one of their ears) he FIRST thinks and acts to help the guard and heals his ear. He never turned in selfishly and never worried about himself. I have been trying to be more like that. Even if I think I DESERVE things to be a certain way I have been trying to give it up and always do things the way others want them done. Still got a lot of work to do. Even if you've been treated like crap do what Christ would do...he would turn out towards others and try to help them. If we make "helping others" our goal then there will always be something productive to do.

Our district did two full days of speaking only in Spanish and next week we are going to do three. Every week we are going to add a day so that by our final week we can go the entire week speaking only in Spanish. I love SYL (HSI in Spanish) days. We make a lot of mistakes but we cant actually communicate in Spanish to each other now. I can definitely feel Heavenly Father's help as I learn this language. And I can tell other's are praying for me.

At the fireside on Tuesday everyone was watching the doors waiting to see who would walk in (everyone is always hoping that it's one of the twelve) anyway I saw the speaker walk in and I 100% thought that it was Gordon B. Hinckley so I gasped and grabbed my companions arm but as soon as I did that I remembered that he's no longer even living. I felt pretty stupid but I had to explain myself since I grabbed her arm. For Halloween we did all we could to make it feel like a holiday. We all wore orange and black. Yup that's pretty much it haha. The district was going CRAZY though and it was so hard to study. Everyone was seriously bouncing off of the walls. Our lesson that day was definitely our best one yet though. He even broke character at the end and told us that we did a really good job. The weather was so nice that day so we went to study outside on the benches in the sun and apparently I fell asleep. I still insist that I was awake the whole time but another district in our zone said they walked by and I was fast asleep. They won't let me forget that either. In our second lesson last night I was setting up the next appointment and I wanted to say Friday but I said verde....I knew it started with a "v" He started laughing and just started naming off other colors.

How was Halloween back home though? Jessica are there more pictures of the Ball nephews from the day of? Did they have fun trick or treating? The weather was nice so I'm guessing they didn't freeze this year. You can send me the extra Halloween candy if Dad doesn't want to eat it all! Andrea your Halloween pics were so cute!! Did you wear your wedding dress? It was a small pic so it was hard to tell. Oh and did you guys get some pictures emailed to you? One of the sisters in my district sent her camera card home and I think her mom was going to email the pictures out to our family. Let me know if you get them..if not I'll send my card home before I go to Cali. We got two new roommates a few nights ago. They're SPanish speaking as well but they're only here for 3 weeks because they go to the D.R MTC. It's weird to think that they'll leave way before us even though we've been here FOREVER. Well my time is up so I need to go but I hope everything is going well back at home and I can't wait to hear from all of you soon!
Con amor, Hermana Billings

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012-MTC




Hola familia! Como estan?

So right after I emailed everyone last Friday I ran into Elder Hicks. I think Dylan Hicks? He seems so grown up and mature! And he's the district leader for his district. I've seen him one other time. It's crazy that he'll be leaving the MTC before me even though I got here three weeks before him. He was very nice and delivered your message, dad. I think the schedule finally caught up to me this week because I was so tired. One day during personal study I was having the hardest time staying awake and I fell asleep TWICE right in the MIDDLE of highlighting a scripture. Our lessons are starting to go much much better. Well all of them except for one. Last Friday we had our first (and probably not our last) experience with a lesson going exactly how you don't want it to go. Looking back on it now it was actually really funny. We were teaching him about prophets and had him read Amos 3:7 where it says God doesn't do anything before revealing it to his prophets first and then our investigator asked if WE were prophets. I only understood the prophet part so I said "Yup!"....apostasy. Somehow we finally realized what he had asked and did our best to tell him that we were actually not prophets. Oops.

The language has been coming much better this week. Much MUCh MUCH better. My teacher told me to pray for specific help. not just "please help me with the language" so I started praying that I would just be able to remember what I study and I have never had such a good memory in my life before. I put forth the work and do the studying and then God helps me remember what I study. I've been able to remember stuff that I've only studied once and it's been a huge blessing! My spelling in English is getting horrible though. I'm starting to spell in Spanish. There aren't very many words in Spanish that repeat letters. I wouldn't say I'm starting to think in Spanish but I think about certain Spanish phrases and words a lot.

 After our lesson we went into the computer lab (there's a program that helps us learn Spanish. We can listen to native speakers and then speak and compare how we sound...it's really helpful) anyway my companion rolled her chair over to talk to me and since her headphones were on she was connected to the computer so the entire computer followed her and crashed to the floor. It was really loud and she was so embarrassed. We started quietly laughing for just a second and then we both started crying. haha I have NO idea why. Too much emotion for one day I think. Our teacher came over and the look on his face was pure confusion that it made me start laughing again. Every time he came over after that to talk to us he was really hesitant. I think he was worried we might burst into tears again. I bet Dad, Justin and Scott never experienced random outbursts of tears like that on their missions! Embarrassing story of the week #2 ....There is an Elder in my district named Elder Crapo (pronounced cray po) Well I called him  Crap- O TWICE! I felt bad...I hope he doesn't think I was making fun of him.

It's really cool to hear about the increased number of missionary applications. One of the Elders in my district has a friend who just got her call to Switzerland (German speaking) and she's only 19 or 20. She must be one of the very first young sisters to get her call. She doesn't come to the MTC until February though. I doubt I'll see any of the young group in the MTC while I'm here. But I'm sure I'll see a lot while I'm in the field. Is there anyone in our ward that will be serving a mission now? And Yes I do need my four generation pedigree chart please. Just sometime before I leave the MTC. I don't think I'll need it while I'm here but it would definitely be easier to send it to me here than Cali. And yes I have stopped pirating my notebooks for paper. I will use the paper that mom sent me.

This Sunday my district is doing a musical number for sacrament meeting and I am playing the piano. We're doing the EFY Medley (As sister's in zion/ the army of helaman) great song! So every Sunday we watch a movie after the fireside and we got to watch The Testaments. It was SO good. I got more out of it this time than any of the other times combined. The elders couldn't handle the kissing scenes though. They had to be told that whistling and clapping was not appropriate. It was funny. Oh and that Sunday morning our alarm clock was the fire alarm. The entire building had to be evacuated at 6 in the morning and we didn't get to go back in and get ready until 7 (which is when we're supposed to be at breakfast). Everyone was sleeping on the floor in the building across from us. It was funny to see so many missionaries in their pjs sleeping on the floor. They said some dust set the alarm off.

Sister Dibb (Pres Monson's Daughter) came and spoke to the sisters on Sunday. She was so awesome. She told us a lot of fun stories about the prophet that made him seem like just a normal person. I guess he his after all. When she got called to the young women's general presidency he called her and said "do you want to know who the new presidency is?" and she thought he was letting her in on the secret and got all excited. Then he read her name and she started crying and said she couldn't do it. As her dad he told her that she could and then as the prophet he asked if she would accept the call. It was a cool story. She also told us that He treats his wife really well and told us a couple stories about that. I wish I had time to write them but I don't sorry. Maybe next week! Hermano Christofferson also tells us stories about the 12 apostles all the time and it's so neat! (I told you his uncle is D. Todd right?)

Mom- Yay I'm glad you can put my emails up on my blog now. Thanks for doing that! Did it snow yet over there? We got a lot of snow yesterday.Hopefully you got all the vegetables out of the garden. I really miss fresh veggies.  I can't wait to be in California because I'm already sick of the snow. Skirts are just not warm enough for snow! Luckily we really only have to go outside for meals because our class and dorm room are in the same building. How come you're making stockings for everyone? And why don't I get one???? Just kidding. Kind of. Will Christmas be at your house this year?

Dad- Good to hear about Romney. I put him on the prayer roll last time we went to the temple...hopefully that's okay. But I would just way rather have someone as president who holds the priesthood than anyone else. I didn't have time to vote last p-day but I will today. One of the sisters in my district is from Virginia and she didn't even vote! sheesh. She said she doesn't care what happens because it won't affect her since she's on a mission. I think who runs our country DEFINITELY affects us even if we are on a mission. Plus we won't be on a mission forever.  It sounds like the garage looks nice! And it sounds like mom is making the front porch look nice for Halloween. I'm definitely going to miss decorating for the holidays this year.

Jessica- Tell the boys thanks for the pictures. They were so cute!! And the pictures of them in their Halloween costumes are adorable. My favorite picture was the one of them in the truck with all the pumpkins. It seems unreal that it's Halloween in the real world. Thanks for helping mom with the blog too. Oh and the story about Alex and his pumpkin was so cute. I read it to my class and they all thought it was funny. What color did you pick for the house? And when will the house be done? Or is there not a set date yet? That's awesome about your new calling. That will be fun and keep you really busy I'm sure! I thought you were going to say relief society president haha. And snail mail is great. I don't care what form it comes in I just like to read it. I do get to read dearelders anytime too though...in case you don't want to use stamps every week.

Andrea- I'm glad Matt finally sent you my talk. I haven't even listened to it so I don't really remember what I said. I can't believe Scott ate all of that. There are actually several elders who eat like that every single meal here. It's so disgusting. Even eating the "healthy" food here probably isn't even that healthy. For breakfast I saw one sister with 3 donuts on here tray and nothing else. How did your audition at Golds go? That sounds fun! Did you choose aqua fitness or is that what they assigned you? I think you'd like teaching the elderly!! At least I would. If you email me a link to your blog I will not be able to read it. They have all sites blocked except for email and lds.orgCould you copy and paste it into a dear elder? I dunno if you'd be able to do pictures though. But you could email the pictures. That's probably a lot of work but I won't have time to read it if you email it. I barely have enough time just to email. Tell Boston thanks for singing his ABC's for me. I really enjoyed it :)

Thanks everyone for praying for me! I feel very loved and supported from everyone and it helps a lot! The work is hard but for sure not the hardest thing I've ever done. Everyone said it would be but I disagree. I think because there are so many people willing to help. Maybe the field will be different. Actually I'm sure it will be. The day that I got here one of the sisters leaving said "This will be by far the hardest thing you've ever done" So  I assumed she was talking just about the MTC. But I like it here and I'm learning a ton!! I know I've only been out 3 weeks but I'm already wishing it would slow down. Can't wait to hear from everyone again!
Con Amor-
Hermana Billings