This week was FANTASTIC! There is so much that I want to write about but I know I'm not going to be able to cover it all. First of all, I'M STAYING IN GILROY!! It was honestly the biggest surprise for everyone in my district. The chance of me staying in Gilroy for another transfer was seriously 1%. Saturday night (when they do the transfer calls) I was on the phone with one of the elders arranging our car schedule and I heard one of the zone leaders in the background yelling my name. I asked them what was going on and they told me that I wasn't going to be transferred!! I didn't believe them at first but they sounded pretty serious so I yelled to Sister Champlin in the other room that I wasn't leaving and she sprinted out of our room and tackled me! Needless to say we were all shocked. 5 transfers in Gilroy!!! :)
And dad, the reason why I said my next area will be my last (even with 7 months left) is because my mission president has it set up so that sisters have a total of 3 areas and elders have a total of 4. We're supposed to serve 4 transfers in each area but I was only 3 transfers in my first area. Which is why I'll have 5 here. It all balances out :)
Anyway, besides the surprising news of transfers we really had a great week full of miracles. For some reason we came into contact with so many receptive people this week. One of them was someone we met in the Wal-Mart parking lot. We walked up to her to share a Mormon.org card and she got tears in her eyes and asked us how we knew that her name was Violet. We told her that we didn't know that that was her name. She looked confused and said , "Oh. Really? Because when you first started talking to me I swear I heard you say my name." I felt such a strong impression that that was God's way of reaching out to her so I testified to her that we were messengers of God and that He does know her name and that He loves her. She teared up some more and thanked us for stopping to talk to her. She doesn't live in our area so we gave her the contact information that she needed to meet with the missionaries in her area. Such a simple thing as a name can make all the difference!
Another contact we met was a referral that we got from a member in our English ward. I didn't make the best first impression though because we were on bikes that day so we rode our bikes to house. I was wearing a headband and when I took my helmet off it pulled my headband down around my forehead (like how hippies wear them) and I didn't even notice! So I talked to her for about 15 minutes without even realizing how strange I probably looked! But I guess that didn't matter to her because she was the most receptive contact I've ever had. She was so impressed with the fact that we would serve a mission to teach people about God and she wouldn't stop asking questions about the church's activities and programs. It was great! She told us that her door is always open to us and to please stop by whenever we get a chance. And her mom speaks Spanish! So we're really excited to start teaching them. Her name is Violet Duran and her mom's name is Rosa so hopefully more good stories will be coming from them.
We've also been progressing a lot with Margarita Zavala. She came to church on Sunday! And we met with her just about everyday this week. One of the days that we stopped by she was SO excited to read us a chapter that she had found in the book of Mormon. We had barely sat down when she started reading it to us. She said that she just opened up the book and the chapter she opened up to was Alma 29. After she read the whole chapter to us she started crying and began thanking us for everything we've done for her. She said that when she read that chapter she thought of us and she knows that God sent us to her. She called us her angels :) I don't know if I every told anyone this but my main goal for my mission was to be an angel for at least one person so hearing her say that made me feel like I'm actually finding those people that God has prepared for me to find.
This week we also went to the temple with Amber and Anthony. Amber had already been but she said she learned a lot of new things about Joseph Smith and she felt the spirit which is what she had been yearning for. Our ward mission leader held an FHE with another young single mom in the ward and Amber. We roasted s'mores in their backyard campfire and Amber's kids made some new friends. It was really nice of them to reach out to her. The ward has also assigned home and visiting teachers to her even though she's not yet a member. I love that they're so involved with her because there is only so much the missionaries can and should do.
Another tender moment was with Ivory. She's the less active member we found contacting back in June. She's had a really rough life and has been through more than any 13 year old should ever have to experience. She was talking to us about serving a mission and how she wants to but keeps changing her mind. I told her that it's okay to change her mind because I changed my mind a million times even AFTER I had received my call. But here I am!! We asked her to say the closing prayer and in her prayer she said that she was really glad that God helped Sister Billings serve a mission so that she could meet the sister missionaries. Once again it was a testimony to me that we are finding those people that God has put into our path to find. I can't explain how we come in to contact with some of these people. They are honestly just put into our path. It's our job to talk to them but I know God is the one directing all of these contacts. If He wasn't the one in charge I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't have a single person to teach!
I know this is long so I'll finish with Gerado. He is a very devote member of the Baptist church and he doesn't disagree with ANY of what we teach. But for some reason he cannot except the fact that we have a living day prophet. His excuse is that we're the only church that claims that we have a prophet. I don't understand how that makes him not believe it....to me that's the evidence that this is the true church. God called prophets in the past and has called them again. No other church is founded upon prophets and apostles as was the church that Jesus Christ himself established. We testified that this church is true so he in turn testified that his church is true. But then he said "However, I'm not going to promise you that it's the way to get back to God because only God knows which church that is" So I said that we could promise him that. I told him that without a doubt I know that this church is the only church with ALL of the truth. I really have realized that other churches have so much good and so much truth but there really is only one church with ALL of the truth. Why would anyone want to settle for part of the truth? After I said that he looked stunned. He took a deep breath and sat back in his chair and said "wow. How can I know if there really is a prophet then?" We gave him some "homework" but it would be really really awesome if everyone could pray for him to gain a testimony of prophets. Please???? And THANK YOU in advance!
I don't know why we had such a busy week but this isn't even half of everything that happened! Things just finally seemed to fall into place. It felt like we had about 2 or 3 weeks with not much going on but it all hit us at once last week. It seemed like everyone we came into contact with was coming up to us instead of us reaching out to them. We went to the post office last week and as we were leaving the lady told us that all missionaries are extremely nice and she wished more people were nice like us. Then the next day we were at the library and I returned an extra 10 cents that the printer had given me and they told us them same thing. They looked shocked that we would return such a small amount of money. But I learned in the MTC to ask myself if something like that is worth my salvation. Is 10 cents worth not being able to say I'm a completely honest person? Definitely not!
Hopefully this email finds everyone healthy and happy! I love you all and I appreciate all the prayers and letters that I receive :) Have a good week!
Love, Hermana Billings