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Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013 - Livermore

I feel like I just wrote my last email yesterday! The weeks are flying by! Mom thanks so much for your letter it made my week! I'm going to write you back later today. Yes I did get the gift from Karla. She sent me a necklace too and it's really pretty. I can't believe she made it! It's perfect because it doesn't get in the way and a lot of members tell me how pretty it is. I sent her a thank you card so let me know if she gets it. How is justin doing? I'll keep him in my prayers. And how is katie doing? I haven't heard anything for awhile.
So this week was so awesome. We got another baptismal date. Apolinar Maya commited to be baptized February 9. I already told you that Blanca has a baptismal date too right? We had to cancel Pedro's date because he didn't come to church yesterday. We're going to work really hard with him to come next Sunday though...he just needs to get work off. Blanca and Apolinar both came to church yesterday and they participated in the classes a lot. They both are really smart and have strong faith. Blanca is progressing really fast now. We made them baptismal calendars and she loved it. We taught Apolinar the word of wisdom the lesson after he commited to baptism and he asked if he could change his date because he didn't think he could be ready by then. And then he tried to argue that gatorade is worse than beer...we told him he can stop drinking gatorade too then if that's what he thinks. But we told him to pray about his date for a week before he decides to change it for sure. The fact that he came to church is a good sign I think.
Before sacrament meeting started I was explaining to Blanca what would be happening and since it was fast Sunday I told her all the members of the church fast every sunday and then have the opportunity to share their testimonies. She looked at me so worried and said "I only had a tiny glass of milk this morning!" haha it was so cute that she wanted to be doing everything she was supposed to. We haven't even taught her about fasting yet.
After church we went to the oakland temple with Ana and her family. sister green and I rode with the galvan family (we can't take our car out of mission boundaries)- they're recent converts. I'm not sure if I've told you about them but they're my favorite family here. They're going to be sealed in may. But the temple was perfect! It was ana, her husband louis and they're three kids: diana 8, louis, 6 and analise 2. The visitor center sisters took us through a movie tour of how the gospel blesses families with short video clips. Ana cried and the kids all paid attention. Then we watched the joseph smith restoration movie. It was my second time watching it in spanish. After the movie the visitor center sister's asked ana and her family what they thought about the movie and ana said Joseph Smith reminded her a lot of Jesus Christ because he sacrificed everything, including his life, to do the will of God. What a beautiful connection right? She's very smart. We didn't get to talk to them afterwards about baptism or anything so I'll let you know how our next visit goes.
This week I prayed so hard every day that we wouldn't have to stuff ourselves every day and my prayers were answered :) But yes mom you can still send those stomach pills if you want. It really is nice that the members are so willing to feed us. Last night we ate at a members house and they live in a garage. They're so humble and giving and said that even though their house is cold we are always welcome. I always feel so bad letting these poor people feed us so much food but they always tell us how blessed they are to have the opportunity to serve the missionaries. Sister Green always has to remind me that we're doing them a favor by letting them feed us. But it still breaks my heart to see the conditions that most of them live in. And yet they're SO happy and SO content because they know they have an eternal family. It's amazing.
Something I've learned about Latino's is they're very blunt. VERY blunt. They don't hold ANYHING back and it is so hillarious. The other night at dinner one of them told Sister Green that she looks like a mexican because of her mustache. But they're always very nice about our Spanish. They always say it's so beautiful that we can speak Spanish. Even though we don't speak very well it gives me the encouragement I need to keep trying. I can say everything I want to get across now but I still have trouble following along sometimes when they're talking. Before Sister Green leaves my goal is to be able to follow along.
For our zone activity today we're going Ice Skating!! It'll be fun. Oh for our service on Saturday we were taking down all the buildings for living bethlehem (I never thought as a missionary that I'd be a construction worker too) and sister green was trying to pry a nail out with ALL of her might. When it finally came out she flew straight on her back faster than anything I've ever seen. I think that's all my  news for the week. Can't wait to hear more about what's going on at home! Thanks for being such an awesome family I pray for you all everyday!!
Scripture of the week:
I love in Alma 18:8-9 when the king is looking for Ammon and he is found serving him. If the Lord were to ever ask where I am I want to be found serving Him. Being a missionary really is such a blessing because I know I'm giving all that I have to the Lord every single minute. It's all worth it!
Have a good week :)
Love Hermana Billings
ps- mom maybe when you send my stomach pills you could send a journal from deseret book. Maybe I have one at the house. I need another one for my studies because mine is almost full. I think the one ellice gave me is still at the house. Could you send that one? You don't need to be in a hurry to send it though...just whenever you have time. Thanks!!

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