This week was long and busy! AKA it went by REALLY fast! I had the awesome opportunity to spend two days on exchanges in seaside with the sisters serving over there. Their apartment has a beautiful view of the ocean! It was SO pretty and I'm already planning on telling my President that I would love to finish my mission in Seaside. Our first appointment in Seaside didn't exactly start off the way we would have liked. We pulled up to an apartment complex with my pink bike from Gilroy on a bike rack on the trunk. One of the Sisters needed to get her backpack out of the trunk so she lifted up the trunk with the bike rack still connected. When she closed the trunk (which she did so by just letting go of the bike) the back window COMPLETELY shattered into a million pieces of broken glass. We all just stared at the broken window in complete silence for a good minute! (I'll send a picture). We cleaned up all the glass and then drove around the rest of the night without a back window. But we got a new window the next day!
I loved seaside because it's an all bike area so we got to be outside ALL day! However, my pink 7 speed beach cruiser didn't do very well with the hills on the first day. You can't go anywhere in seaside without riding up at least 5 hills! We also got up at 6 to go running that morning (also up a million steep hills) so my legs were pretty sore that night. I was also SUPER hungry all day! Mom do you remember how hungry I would be after track practice? That's how I felt after riding up hills on our bikes all day! But it really was great! The second day in seaside I got to use one of the other sisters 21 speed bikes instead of my beach cruiser and it made riding up those hills a lot easier.
With the little experience that I have from doing exchanges I love it so far! I didn't sleep very well at night because I was worried about what was going on in Gilroy. When I came back to Gilroy I felt at home again! But I learned a lot from the other sisters that I plan on applying to the rest of my mission. This week I'll be going to Salinas for exchanges with my trainer Sister Green!!! I'm REALLY excited to see and work with her again :)
As far as our investigators go I'll just tell a quick story about Rob. His wife is an active member and so are his sons (who both served missions) but he's never agreed with organized religion. He's met with the missionaries several times but has never read the Book of Mormon. He promised us to read one chapter with his wife before we came to visit him again and he ended up reading the first 6 chapters of 1 Nephi and most of Moroni :) His wife was SHOCKED that he actually read and she couldn't stop smiling. But the cool part of the story is how he found a Book of Mormon to read:
When we gave him the challenge to read we just assumed he had a Book of Mormon from his wife or sons (our bad!) so we didn't even think to give him his own. He ended up going out of town for work and planned on having his wife read to him over the phone. She ended up not being able to so when his plane landed in Denver he decided to go to the temple (which was 10 minutes away) to ask for a copy. The temple visitor's center was closed so he headed to his hotel. Turns out that he was staying at a Marriott!! When he got to his room he opened the drawer and saw a Book of Mormon waiting for him :)
The other exciting thing that's been going on is our former branch president (who's been inactive since he was released as president) came back to church on Sunday! he brought his entire family too. Everyone was SO happy to see him there and just about everyone was crying. He bore his testimony and said that he was back to stay. He's been going out with the Elders to visit all of the less actives and tells them that he's come back so they need to too. We've already had a lot more activation just from his example.
Madison and Ivory went to girls camp and absolutely loved it! Madison is planning on being baptized in August. She's waiting to find out when her brother will be in town so that she can set a date.
Mom and Dad I want to hear all about the camping trip! Pictures would be nice too :) I'm glad Cathy and Rita got to go to church....hopefully they enjoyed it! I still think you should invite the missionaries over for dinner while they're there! Then they can see what it is that I'm up to!
Sorry about your finger dad. I cut mine while cutting a Mango the other day....not bad enough to get stitches like you though! Thanks for the update about the Zimmerman case. And don't worry, we're staying out of trouble. And thanks for sharing your experiences with working in branches. It definitely helps to see other perspectives and realize that we actually don't have it THAT bad! Especially with the baptismal font setup that you had to do! I guess we are pretty spoiled :)
Mom- you should make a Mormon.org profile! And also.....for my birthday could you send me a new white shirt from down east? Maybe a black one too? Or whatever other cute colors they have. They don't have a downeast in Cali and my white shirt is starting to not be white. The shirt is the "Classic Tee" size small. It's the one with the finished edges. Thank you so much!! I'm looking forward to your next letter. have fun camping with your sisters!
I hope everyone else is doing well! I haven't heard from Andrea for awhile? You still alive?
Have a good week everyone! I love you all!
Love, Sister Billings