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Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013 - Livermore

Yesterday was my four month mark! How can I only have 14 months of my mission left? Well first things first....Blanca didn't get baptized :( But she will one day really soon. We spent the first half of the week planning the baptism, making tons of phone calls and getting everything scheduled. Then on Wednesday as I was praying before starting my personal morning studies I just all of a sudden knew that she wasn't legally married to her husband. We had taught her the law of chastity and asked if her and her husband of 20 years with children were married and she said yes. So we weren't worried. But I told sister wallace what I felt so we called Blanca and asked her if they were legally married and she said no. It was sad to tell her that she couldn't be baptized especially because she is so ready. She reads from the book of mormon everyday and always picks up on the things that usually we have to point out to people. For example, she said "well in the book of mormon it says there really are only two churches. The devils church and Gods church. And I want to belong to Gods church." Anyway she was supposed to talk to her "husband" yesterday to find out if he is legally divorced from his first wife. If he is, they'll get married and she'll probably still be baptized this month. If he's not....I might not be here for her baptism. But she came to church yesterday and her son is going to start meeting with the elders.
As for some of our other investigators...we have a new investigator named Martin that is just the happiest person in the world and every time we teach him or talk to him I just want to smile. He accepted a baptismal date for March 16. People seem really willing to accept baptismal dates and believe in living prophets and read the book of mormon but they don't understand the importance of coming to church. Especially why they need to go to this particular church. It's frustrating. They believe everything we say and everything they feel but they don't act on what they've learned. As of right now, Martin is the only baptismal date that we have. His work schedule just changed so that he has to work on every sunday. So unless there's a miracle and he comes to church 3 times before March 16 we'll probably have to drop/change his date too.
We were teaching one of our investigators named Lupita, who has been investigating the church forever and wants to be baptized in THIS church only but will not come to church and we tried everything we could think of to get her to come but she just kept saying "nope I can't. I have to work" We talked about asking God to provide different work, or for a way for her boss to let her have some/all sundays off etc. and finally she just looked at me and said "all this is so easy for you to say because you're white, you speak english, you're young and you have papers" It made me feel so bad because she's right. It's so easy for me to live the gospel because I can find jobs that will allow me to go to church every sunday. Especially in Utah. So I feel blessed. But at the same time I wish there were something I could do for those that don't have the same opportunity to just quit their job and work somewhere else. In her mind, going to church is the difference of having food to eat and a place to live. They're never going to take my word for it that they just need to have faith that god will bless them if they go to church because they know I don't understand the risk.
We visited another man named Angel who is actually being taught by the elders right now. He's been receiving lessons from them a lot but he said he felt something different with us. He said he thinks, because we have had to learn spanish so quickly (Elder Perez is native) that we have a lot of faith and humility. It was a really spiritual lesson. But as we were leaving I went to shake his hand and he gave me a big hug. Oops...and I reacted in the most awkward way ever. I didn't know what to do! Nothing too interesting has happened with many of our other investigators. We had an AWESOME lesson with ana and luis and they promised to come to church...but they didn't come. We've been spending a lot of time in Dublin and Pleasanton (the 2 surrounding cities of LIvermore) because as our mission leader said, "Livermore is just a bunch of dry wells" The elders only cover Livermore so we've been trying to find new people to teach in the other cities. No luck this week...but we have hope for this next week.
Yesterday, we had stake conference and Elder L. Tom Perry spoke about missionary work. It was awesome! I hope everyone is helping the missionaries in your wards: giving referencias, dinners etc. It really helps a lot. And he talked about the importance of knowing Ch 3 in preach my gospel. Look up the scriptures etc. and learn how the missionaries are taught to teach lessons. Preach my Gospel really is awesome and so helpful. Anytime our lessons stray from what it says in Preach My Gospel, I don't feel the spirit as strong.  The members really need to be the full time finders so that the missionaries can be the full time teachers.
I think I'm finally getting to the point where Spanish comes easily. I still have a lot to learn though. But we were walking through a parking lot one day and I contacted someone in English. I got about half way through explaining the Book of Mormon and my brain completely switched to Spanish in the middle of my sentence and started talking in Spanish. I realized that I was talking in Spanish but I couldn't remember how to say anything in English. I just stood there in silence for a min until Hermana Wallace came to the rescue. It was so embarrassing. Luckily the guy was nice.
I got some letters from the youth in the home ward and they made my day! Dad make sure to tell Brother Peters thank you. I remember writing letters to the missionaries when I was in YW and I never thought I would be on the receiving end. Plus I feel like I was in YW just last year. Time goes by so fast. Will someone also tell Karla and Aysia thanks SO much for the stamps. They are perfect gifts :)
Andrea, will you send an email with a picture of that elmo cake you made for Boston's birthday one year? A sister in my branch wants to make one for her sons birthday. I gave her your blog address but I don't know if she'll be able to find it.
Mom, you don't need to send the whole journal from the tan family. Unless it's small. But some pictures would be good. And you could just type in an email some of the things I wrote like you already did. I'm excited to hear about your baptism. Maybe dad could said some of his journal entries from his baptism too. They'd be interesting to read.
Dad I thought you might like this quote because it talks about how in reality our bodies are just housing our bodies. It was for some word of wisdom youth acitivity they did at the church "If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?"
Okay well I think that's all I have for this week. Can't wait to hear from everyone soon! Have a good week
Love, Hermana Billings

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