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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

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