Hola familia! This week was great! First and most importantly............Anthony's baptism was perfect!! It really was the smoothest a baptismal service that I've attended has ever gone. We got there in plenty of time to get the font filled and everything else set up. It really makes a difference when we do things ahead of time instead of leaving it to the last minute. Even though it went really smoothly we actually started about 20 min late. Everyone showed up on time EXCEPT Anthony and Amber. I called Amber about 5:05 (it was supposed to start at 5) and asked her if she was on her way to the baptism and she said "What baptism?" My heart seriously dropped! But then she started laughing and said that they got lost but were on their way.
Not a lot of people showed up...the primary president, ward mission leader, bishop and one other family that's close to Amber were the only ones from the ward. However, Amber's mom, sister, friend and 2 neighbors (all non-members) came!! So we couldn't have been more thrilled to have so many potential investigators in one room. While we were waiting for Anthony to change his clothes, Sister Champlin and I did a presentation and showed a Mormon message and Amber's mom was crying during the video. She also got a little teary eyed during a musical number that one of the elders performed. Good signs right? Buuuuut she left before the program was over so we didn't get a chance to talk to her.
Oh funny story....After Anthony's baptismal interview I went up to my district leader who conducted the interview (Elder Platt) and asked him if everything went okay. He said yes except for when he asked Anthony what the law of chastity is he replied that it's when you pray for everyone. But hey he's only 10! Close enough right?
The other highlight of the week was my birthday!! It was honestly the PERFECT birthday. Thank you so so so so so much for the cards and gifts that were sent to me. They all came before my birthday but I waited to open them until the 16th. I think my roommates were more anxious than I was to open them. And Mom the treats you sent me were perfect! Thank you so much again :)
So part of why my Birthday was so perfect was because I got to spend half of the day with my trainer, sister green! I don't know how it happened to fall on my birthday but both of our companions had advanced orientation to attend so sister green and I got paired up to be companions until they were done with their meeting. It was so fun to work with her again! We got caught up on a lot of stories and were able to teach a couple lessons together. Once I was back with Sister Champ we went to dinner at a members house and she made me a jello cake and gave me a nice gift. Then we went to our recent converts (Ines and Ricardo) who both live with the Alvarez family and they had a cake for me! It was so thoughtful of them! :) I actually waited until the evening to read my birthday cards so when I got home I still had something to look forward to. I couldn't have wished for a better Birthday! I'm a little sad that it's the only one I'll get on my mission.
Today we had zone conference which is where 3-4 zones come together for a conference with President. I was asked to give a talk on consecration and I talked about becoming a consecrated missionary. I talked about how we physically left so many things behind when we decided to serve the lord for 18-24 months and how sometimes we need to leave them emotionally too. I know that the first part of my mission I wasn't ready to leave track behind emotionally, but when I finally did, I became a much more effective missionary. There are a few other things that I have started to do to be able to be a more focused missionary such as not reading mail until the end of the day so that it doesn't distract me and going to bed by 1030- I'm still working on that one! But surprisingly I have never once slept in past 6:25! and I hope I can keep that goal for the rest of my mission. I was a little nervous to give a talk in front of so many missionaries because I still feel so inexperienced compared to them. But I also realized today that I have been out on the mission a lot longer than the majority of the missionaries. When did that happen??! I'm also a lot....A LOT....older than the majority (if not ALL) of the missionaries. But I won't get into that because people still think I'm only 18 so I'm good right?
This Sunday we're planning for Jocelyn to be baptized. She was supposed to be baptized the same night as Ines so we're praying that everything will work out this time. Pray for her and our other investigators! We're pretty low on investigators now actually. But we're doing our best to find more people to teach. I know the lord will lead us to the work that needs to get done.
I really love each and everyone of you so much and I hope everyone is doing great. Thanks again for the birthday wishes and for all the prayers. Have a good week!
Love, Sister Billings