!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
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
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
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!