Although our numbers don't show it...this week was great! First, I want to talk about someone we just barely started teaching. Her name is Graciela. One night, we met the Elders in the McDonald's parking lot to pick something up from them. Right when we got there, Elder Perez said he needed to use the bathroom so we were waiting in our car for them to come out. About 10 min later we got a phone call and the Elders told us to come inside and we met Graciela. She told us she had talked to missionaries before and we asked if we could come visit her. She didn't seem very interested but she said we could so we set an appt for Tuesday @ 130. On Tuesday she went to her friends house to help sew and was debating the whole time while she was there if she should go back home in time to meet with us. She wasn't sure what to do so she said a prayer. She didn't really feel like she got an answer but then at 1 o'clock she said she just stood up to leave. Her friend asked her where she was going and tried to get her to stay but she said "I have to go meet the missionaries". She got home at about 120 and waited for us to get there. She said if we didn't show up by 2 that she was going to leave. Luckily we came and I'm SO glad that we did. Before we knocked on the door I saw a sign that says (in spanish) "This house is Catholic and we do not accept propaganda from any other sects. Jesus Lives (with a picture of mary)" So my thoughts were that this appointment was going to be a waste of time. But I was so wrong.
We explained to her about the book of mormon and she immediately fell in love with it. She said "I KNEW that God was taking care of the people over here too" She told us that she had heard about the Book of Mormon but she didn't know that it was a history of the people who lived here anciently. At the end of the lesson we invited her to prepare for a baptismal date and she ended up talking herself into it. We didn't even have to. It was very humorous actually. She said, "Oh no I can't be baptized I was baptized in the catholic church" Silence "Well I am going to Mexico for awhile. I guess I could get baptized when I come back" Silence "Or Maybe I could meet with the missionaries in Mexico and get baptized there" Silence "Actually I think I want to get baptized before I go back to Mexico" It was awesome. We're not sure when she'll be moving back to Mexico...so we haven't set a date yet. But we're meeting with her again tonight. Since she's moving to mexico she's trying to sell her house so all the missionaries have been helping her paint and it's been a BLAST. And she absolutely has fallen in love with the book of mormon. We'll be painting in one room and she'll be reading in the other and then she'll buy us lunch and we all talk about what she read.
On thursday, we were leaving from our lesson with blanca and marco and told them that we were heading up to help someone paint. Marco said he wanted to come help and brought a ton of helpful painting supplies. It was so nice of him to volunteer. It made her so happy to have so many people in her house -her husband recently passed away. I have a huge testimony of service after this week. I could see the impact our service was having in her life. It was like she changed over night. And she said she had never thought to pray before she eats before she met the missionaries but now she does it on her own. Anyway...I could go on and on about her but I'll leave it at that. She's actually the Elders investigator because she lives in their area. But we'll probably end up teaching her a lot since she lives alone. Keep her in your prayers!
Oh...One last story about Graciela. The english sisters came with us to paint one day and there was a bottle of green leaves on the table. Sister Barker leaned over to me and asked what it was. I didn't know so I asked Graciela "que es eso?" and she said "Marijuana" and I've never seen Sister Barker's eyes so big haha But don't worry....she only uses it for the outside of her body.
On Saturday we had a missionary conference with all the missionaries in my mission and Elder Holland. It was so awesome. We all got to shake his hand and meet him. It was really amazing to receive counsel and guidance directamente from an apostle of the lord. I wrote down a ton of things that he said that I liked but my favorite was "There is no other reason in the world to be here on a mission besides the fact that it is true" It just made me realize that everyone has their reasons for serving a mission. But the only thing that matters is our testimonies of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. It really is all that matters. Elder packer of the first quorum of the 70 also spoke and he told us that he has committed to giving away one book of mormon every week for the rest of his life. He prays every day to receive an opportunity to give the book to someone and then he asks them if they'll read his favorite book. I definitely want to have a goal like that after my full-time missionary service is over.
In district meeting this week, Elder Perez invited us to write a letter to Heavenly Father. As missionaries, we spend so much of our p-day writting letters to family and friends and it was such a neat experience to pull out a piece of paper and write Dear Heavenly Father on it. It changed my perspective with my prayers a lot. It's something I think everyone should try!
Gisel and Arturo said that they got to talk to mom and dad. Were you able to find tickets for them? Unfortunately, our branch president didn't know that he could request tickets. That'll be SO awesome if you get to meet them. They're an awesome family. Arturo is the reason why Gisel and her whole family got baptized. He's an awesome missionary and her family is now one of the strongest families in the branch.
Mom, Blanca gave me a whole bunch of information that she wants me to send you..health stuff. It reminds me of melaluca. It's called Nature's Valley or Sun Valley. Something like that. But I'm working on getting it in the mail. Also, you should check out the website detoxinista.com I haven't looked at it but a member told me all about it.
I spent too much time writting about Graciela so I have to go now! But this week was great and I can't wait to hear from everyone SOON!!! :)
Love, Sister Billings