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Friday, October 19, 2012

October 12, 2012 - MTC

Dear Family-
     Hola! It's been great to hear from everyone. Thanks for writing. I really really love and appreciate hearing from anyone and everyone. Dad, I got a letter from Jessica and Amy Kate writes me about everyday. It's great! And dearelder.com is definitely the best way to do it. I can't believe I already have one week completed in the MTC. Has it gone by fast for everyone else? I will be able to e-mail every Friday now. We didn't have a preparation day the first week, so that's why I had to send a hand written letter. Well first things first...General Conference was amazing! The missionaries still haven't stopped talking about the new age change. What a great announcement!!! I'm so excited that more, especially sisters, will have the opportunity to serve a mission. Elder Bednar came and spoke to us the following Tuesday and said there has been a lot of speculation about why the change took place. He said "The Lord can do his own work and will hasten it as he pleases. And the Lord is hastening his work". Anything else is merely coincidental. It's so funny to hear the Elders perspective about it. One of the Elder's in my district got a letter the next day from his girlfriend saying she was meeting with the bishop the next day to turn in her mission papers. He was really excited for her. As he should be. I loved that Conference spoke a lot about discipleship. I think Elder Bednar, Eyering and Ballard gave my favorite talks (they seemed to be the same talk). Which is interesting because when Elder Bednar was speaking to us on Tuesday he told us that they do not assign topics in Conference and they were just as interested to know what the other apostles were going to say as we were. He said, "The lord is the master planner, not his servants". It's just interesting how when we're doing what we're supposed to, everything works out. But sometimes we don't notice it until it's already been worked out. Anyway, I might end up training a 19 year old sister!
     Mom, thanks for sending that belt and some yummy gluten free homemade snacks! I have them in my room now so I don't have to go to bed starving. I'm actually starting to get used to the early dinner now though. And yes Dad there are vending machines but I never use them. We only get $8 a week (which is $2 more than the elders!) so I try not to use it on snacks. I bought a Spanish Hymn Book and some flash cards with the money last week. And yes I have a hole punch. Which I've already used a ton so I'm glad I brought it. If you are sending another package I would use some stationery (because I don't have any...maybe just blank cards or something?) but you don't need to go out of your way to send another package just to send it. I'm fine using boring lined paper. 
     My companion and I share a room with two other Sisters who are in our district. There are 3 bunk beds, so two of the beds are empty. We each have our own little closet and we share a desk area with our companion. We don't spend any time in our room besides sleeping and journal writing. My companion is going to Fortworth, Texas and the other two are going to Arcadia, California. I haven't met anyone else going to San Jose, California Spanish speaking. What does that mean? SOOO many missionaries are going to Arcadia, California though. I love my companion and the other two sisters in my district. We all get a long great but we're all pretty different from each other. One sister is from Tennessee and she has the cutest accent. The other sister is from Virginia. I think I already mentioned that my companion is from St. George Utah. We have scheduled gym time alternating morning and afternoon. I get to lift weights in the mornings (which I love!!) and then I run and play four square in the afternoons. I like morning gym time a lot better. And I've been sore from gym ever since I've been here. Probably the last time I'll have sore muscles though. My companion said she wanted to run with me the first day and I was like, "great!!" but she stopped after 3 minutes and hasn't mentioned trying again. Luckily we don't have to be with our companions during gym time. The lines at the cafeteria are not long at all. I think the longest we've had to wait is 10 minutes and that was only during General Conference because everyone had the same meal times. Other than that, there are no lines. So I haven't been getting any reading done. But I did start reading Jesus the Christ the Monday after General Conference. I haven't made a ton of progress but I plan to continue reading it throughout my mission. I've also started reading el Libro de Mormon. It's taking me forever! I just barely finished 1 nephi 1. 
     We can't listen to any music while in the MTC so I haven't taken my ipod out yet. Everyone sings a ton here...down the halls, in class, in the shower. I find my self whistling ALL the time. I'm glad my corolla found a good new home. I'll miss that car! I don't know how you got $6300 from my uesp savings and selling the corolla but that's great! I'm glad my mission will be able to be paid for. Thanks for supporting me. And mom, you said you would like to serve a mission one day? GREAT! Like I said in my other letter, I can't believe I ever considered NOT going. If you have a testimony, a mission really is for everyone. At least that's what I think. I think the Lord would want ALL of his children to serve if there is any way that it's a possibility for them. Especially in these days as he's starting to "hasten his work". It's really the most important thing we can do.  I've learned a lot already about why I'm out here. To bring others to Christ. Not to share my beliefs and try to get others to believe in them as well (although I will be sharing my belief) it's to show others what they need to do and how to do it in order to follow Christ. It's so much more than I originally thought. Everyone has been talking about their mission plaque...I didn't get one? Do you know anything about that? If anyone asks, I want Alma 29:9 on it. 
     Spanish has been coming a long slowly but I think I'm learning more than I give myself credit. One night I was really frustrated about Spanish and I just wanted to be an English speaking missionary so I could just focus on learning the doctrine of Christ. We had a combined class with a few other districts and at the end our teacher was saying something important, but I wasn't listening because I was too focused on all my doubts with the language. There's so much I want to be able to say but I don't know how to form sentences! Anyway, as we were walking out he called me and my companion over and said, "My message was for you two sisters. Don't ever think that you can't do it because this is God's work and he will provide a way for it to be accomplished. He will help both of you and don't ever think that he won't". We both started crying, hugged each other, and then burst into laughter. We were both in much better moods after that. And neither of us realized that we had both been experiencing the same feelings. Not that the language is easy now, but I know I just have to give it my all and the Lord will help me because he needs to use me as an instrument to bring other unto Christ. He probably wants me to learn Spanish more than I want myself to learn Spanish. So of course he'll help me. And he already has so much. 
     How are the boys doing? I wish I could talk to them! Tell me all the cute and funny stories about them that happen while I'm gone. How's Katie doing? We're going to the temple today so I'll remember to put her name on the prayer roll. You could probably send me family names if you want? And then I can send them back. I'm sure my companions and a few other sisters would love to do some of our family names. We are doing some family names for an elder in our zone today. Dad, how'd your ping pong tournament go? And how are the presidential debates going? I'm glad Romney did well the first night. And I hope everyone is doing well! Write soon? :) Love you all!! 
Con Amor,
Hermana Billings

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