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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013 - Gilroy

We had another great week full of miracles! Once again I don't even know where to start, The Lord truly is hastening His work.
I'll start off with our district meeting that we had this week. Every Wednesday all 10 of the missionaries in Gilroy meet together to discuss the work that is going on in our respective areas. The previous week our district leader had asked us to set 3 extremely high key indicator goals as a companionship. Sister Champlin and I chose to focus on investigators at Sacrament, progressing investigators and baptismal dates. All of the companionships came to district meetings with their 3 goals so we had a total of 15 goals.
Then our district leader told us the story of the brother of jared and how he brought 16 stones to the lord for Him to touch to make light. Obviously this required a miracle that would only be possible through the faith of the brother of jared. He talked about how our goals are similar to these stones and in order to achieve our goals we were going to need to exercise a lot of faith. Then he told us that we were missing the "16th stone" and so as a district we set our 16th goal to be 16 baptisms as a district this transfer. The spirit was SO strong and even though I was wondering how on EARTH it would be possible I know that if each companionship exercises faith then the lord will do the rest. 
Our goals may seem small unto the understanding of man but the Lord will show forth great power (Ether 3:5)
This goal and the motivation that it has brought to our district has already produced miracles. As a district we set 8 new baptismal dates this week! Sister Champlin and I focused on getting our investigators to church. Our goal is to have 4 investigators each Sunday for this transfer. We "knew" that Amber would come because she's rarely missed a week but she didn't show up!!! My heart dropped when she texted us saying that she wasn't going to be able to make it. I didn't want to admit it but I was worried that we weren't going to reach our goal. None of our English ward investigators came so we were praying that they would show up to the Spanish service.
We went with a member to pick up our one and only baptismal date named Yamilet. We sat next to her as the meeting was getting started and about 10 minutes into the service Violet and her mom Rosa walked in! I was so happy to see them. I about sprinted across the chapel to sit by them. Although we didn't reach our goal of 4 investigators at church I accepted 3 as a good effort on our part. We really did do everything in our power to get at least 4 there (We had a prospect of 11 so the fact that 3 came was a pretty good number). But then the elder in the other English ward texted us and said that Amber had shown up to the later service time with her family. I was so happy!!!! Not because her going meant that we had reached our goal of 4 inv @ church but because Amber realizes the importance of going to church. Especially the impact that it has on her children.
Speaking of Amber, she has decided to move out which means she can get baptized! She seemed so at peace with the decision when she told us. Her plan is to get baptized here and then move away and start her life completely over. She even mentioned going to BYU to finish her degree. I don't know how much I've mentioned about Amber but the changes that she's made are honestly so miraculous. She was homeless at the age of 13 and started using drugs at about the same time. She overdosed several times and was put in jail several times as well. Knowing her now you would NEVER guess that she used to live that sort of lifestyle. The gospel has completely changed her. She won't even drink soda with caffeine in it because she feels that it is against the word of wisdom. I know that the Atonement is real. Amber is living proof of that. During our lesson on Sunday she started crying and told us that what she wants more than anything is for her 3 year old daughter to grow up and be sister missionaries like us.
We had another great experience this week with Fatima. She was a referral from a ward member and her son has cancer. We hadn't been able to meet with her for awhile so we decided to drop in and see her one day. We weren't expecting to stay but she invited us right in and looked thrilled to see us again. She told us that her son has been telling his school teacher about us and calls us his friends but he told his teacher that his mom calls us her sisters. Fatima told us that she has been telling her friends about what we taught her last time and wants us to go visit them too. Somehow we started talking about temples and she looked like she was about to cry. I asked her if she would like to go with us to see the Oakland temple one day and she said that her son has been asking to go to a temple in Oakland. I asked her how her 10 yr old son knew about the temple and she said that a friend from school had told him about it. She doesn't know the friends name because  he's "American" as she said it and can't communicate with his parents. She told us that she knows she needs to take her son to see the temple and I just thought WOW. This boy's friend is doing missionary work at 10 years of age and has no idea what kind of impact he will have on this family. I said a little prayer to thank this boy for his missionary service and also his family for what they've taught this boy at home. No one is too young to do missionary work!
Last thing I'll mention from this week is someone we met at the car wash. We contact people on the street every single day but there are some people that I feel like I have more  of a special connection with than others. The guy that washed our car was one of them. I felt the strongest desire to do something for him. He was washing our car so my mind kept jumping to giving him money but obviously I didn't have any. He spoke Spanish so I asked him if he liked to read. He said that he loved reading so I gave him a copy of the Liahona. We then started talking about Jesus Christ and he said that he could tell we were really good people and how he wanted to change his life. I told him that I had something that would change his life and I opened up our trunk and gave him a copy of the book of Mormon. He was so grateful and said that he would start reading it right away. Sure enough, as we were pulling out of the car wash I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him reading the book of Mormon. He lives in San Jose so I don't know if I'll ever hear from him again but something tells me that we were supposed to meet him.
I wish I could write about more of the miraculous experiences we had this week! We've been working hard but we also have a lot of fun too. Yesterday we played soccer with our zone on a turf field. I WAS IN HEAVEN! I forget how much I love and miss sports until I get the opportunity to play them. We've also been playing indoor soccer 3/week at 6am with just our district but for some reason playing outside on the turf brought back a flood of memories from back when I was athletic. haha
Well I hope everyone is doing well and I hope God continues to bless each and every one of you!!! Have a good week!
Love, Sister Billings

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