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Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014 - Redwood City

Hola! What a great week! Just FYI to everyone...I'm going to ask my president if I can extend my mission. Apparently he "never" allows it...but it never hurts to try! Pray that he says yes!

Anyway, this week really was great. However, Enrique didn't end up getting baptized on his scheduled date (Saturday) because he got pulled over for driving without a license and has to do community service for the next 5 weekends. But we're having dinner with him tomorrow and he said he would pray about a new baptismal date and let us know when he'd like to be baptized. He's such a great guy! We taught him about baptisms for the dead and he just loved it. And then a few nights later we just stopped by his house because we were in the area and he was SO happy to see us. His friend, who is a pastor for a Christian church in the city, was also there and loved the message we shared (plan of salvation). Who doesn't love that message right? Anyway, his friend will be at dinner with us tomorrow and he asked Enrique to invite him to his baptism. Lots of seeds are being planted!

Some more good news is that Lourdes (the wife of Jose Luis) told us that she might want to be baptized before Jose Luis leaves for Mexico....and he leaves on Wednesday! It'd be a miracle if she goes through with it. We have dinner with them tonight so pray for her as well. I really hope she does go through with it this week because if not, she'll have to wait several months for Jose Luis to get back from Mexico. I told her that if she does end up getting baptized once he returns from Mexico (which will be long after I'm already home) that I would come back out to see it. We're still working with the rest of the family as well, but Lourdes is progressing the quickest. Which wasn't always the case but we're not complaining!

Last night we had one of the most spiritual contacting experiences. I've never been tracting (not allowed in our mission) but I think contacting is pretty similar. Just minus the door part. But anyway, sister baird noticed a girl who was sitting on a bench so we went over to ask her if we could share a message about Christ. Her face lit right up, she smiled and then started crying and asked if we would give her a hug. She was about my age and just really sweet. She didn't tell us what was going on but we promised her that the teachings of Christ can help her with whatever it is that she's going through. Although we only talked to her for a total of 5 minutes, she walked away looking SO happy and I have no doubt that she received an answer to a prayer. Hopefully a life changing one. Unfortunately she lives way outside of our mission so we probably won't hear from her again, but I know the missionaries who will teach her will do a good job.

This week I went on a half-day exchange with Hermana Santidrian who is from Spain and we spoke in Spanish 100% of the time aka it was the best day ever!! Her accent is slightly different but we communicated just fine. It really was so fun :) I realized how much I really love Spanish...maybe I'll do translating when I get home. She just got called to be a new STL and is really nervous about it...mainly because of the language barrier. But I gave her all of the advice that I could think of (which wasn't much!). But hopefully it helped.

So dad, you know how you told me to check our fire alarm? Sure enough it wasn't working when we checked it! And it wasn't even just a dead battery...but don't worry the apartment manager installed a new one so we're good to go!

Well I hope that everyone has and had a good week! I love you all and can't wait to hear from you!
SED DE BUEN ANIMO

Love, Hermana Billings

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 21, 2014 - Redwood City

Hola mi famila tan Hermosa! We had a great and busy week this week with lots of changes dues to transfers. More than half of our zone got transferred so things will be a lot different this next transfer.

 No one in our apartment got transferred but after 5 transfers as an STL, I have now been released. I was officially an STL longer than anyone else in our mission so far! It was bitter sweet to be released. I'll miss being able to work with all of the sisters but I definitely felt a burden of stress lifted off of my shoulders when I got the call. When I told my companion that I was being released she said, "Ah man! I liked being the STL's companion...it was like being the prophets wife!" haha she's so cute. Even though I'll miss being able to work with the zone leaders and president so closely, I'll be able to focus more on our investigators and training sister Baird. Everything happens for a reason :)

Another exciting thing that happened this week due to transfers is that one of the sisters I trained (sister champlin) will be training this transfer! According to cheesy mission traditions we call trainers "moms/dads" so I got a text from sister champlin the other night saying, "youre going to be a grandma!" I told her to learn from all of my mistakes and that she'll do a thousand times better than I ever could, and I know she will!

Well, this week my companion and I were called to repentance on a busy street in the middle of a crowd of people. I'm sure it was quite entertaining for all around! We approached a man and asked if we could share with him a  card about Jesus Christ. As soon as he recognized that we were Mormons he started saying horrible stuff and he got louder and louder the more he yelled. We didn't say a SINGLE word but he walked away SO angry and told us that we better repent before it's too late. Poor sister baird looked so scared so I put my arm around her as we walked away and told her that some days as a missionary are just hard but not to worry. But anyone who gets that angry over two young girls trying to share a card about Jesus Christ has a long way to go. To finish off the day we spent 2 hours pulling turkey meat off of parts of the turkey that I didn't know were edible at one of the local food banks. I will never ever ever eat turkey again. No one ever said that missionary work included dissecting turkeys!

But we had a lot of good days last week too. One of them was with the granddaughter of Jose Luis. (By the way, 3 of his granddaughters and his wife all came to church this week!) Anyway, we were teaching the kids about the restoration and we asked them if they had any questions. Jocelyn (8yrs) raised her hand and sweetly said that she had a question: "Why don't we learn about this stuff in school?" It was a question that I didn't have the answer to. I told her that we should but I wasn't sure why we don't. Then I told her to ask her teacher haha we'll see what the response is!

Speaking of Jose Luis, we had dinner at his house with his family last night. They're all progressing really fast! Jose Luis is leaving for Mexico to renew his visa and he's not sure when he'll be back. I doubt the family will get baptized while he's gone so unless they get baptized before he leaves, I don't know if I'll be around for their baptisms. But we'll keep working with them! Jose Luis is one of the few people I've met who obeys visa rules and we believe in living the laws of the land so I know he'll be blessed for his obedience.

I wanted to share something that finally clicked with me this week about the worth of a soul. I had always heard that the worth of a soul is great in the sight of god. I realized that every soul has the potential to become like Jesus Christ. That's our goal right? But I didn't realize the impact that ONE soul really can have. And because of one soul, one perfect person even Jesus Christ, all mankind here on earth will be saved from their sins and physical death. No wonder the worth of every soul is so great to God. Every soul has the potential to do what Christ did. That's billions of souls saved just because of one soul. I wish I would have understood that sooner!

Anyway, I am so grateful for the opportunity of being a missionary. I know the lessons that I'm learning will stay with me to help me throughout the rest of my life. I hope everyone is doing well back home. You're all in my prayers and I love you all!

Have a good week!
Un abrazo,
Hermana Billings

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014 - Redwood City

Hola! First of all, I'm so sad that I'm missing the newest member of our family!!! I can't wait to see more pictures. I'm sure Boston is loving being an older brother. And I also can't wait to hold him and meet him for the first time!
 
Okay, so this week was pretty good! Except for the letter I got in the mail announcing the end of my mission as April 16. Definitely the most depressing mail I've received so far on the mission :( Ever since I read it, I haven't been sleeping very well. I've known for awhile that I'd be going home that day but it didn't hit me until I actually read it. Anyway, just the more reason to work even harder with the time I have left!
 
Enrique and Robert are both progressing super fast! Enrique is good to go for baptism the 25th but Robert will need to come to church at least one more time. But more would be better obviously.  Both of them are reading the Book of Mormon and gaining a testimony of their own. Robert quit drinking before we even taught him the work of wisdom and he's already concerned about his friends and family who don't have the gospel. After we taught him lesson 3 (gospel of jesus Christ) we asked him if he had any questions. He looked concerned and said that he did. He asked us what was going to happen to those who don't accept the gospel. We testified of the importance of sharing the gospel with everyone and the thought of someone not having the opportunity to accept the gospel is the very reason why we're here serving missions. He understood and then said the most beautiful prayer for those in his family who don't have the gospel yet. I'm sure we'll be getting some investigators from him pretty soon!
 
Did I ever mention that my companion is a runner? When president assigned us together he said we were a match made in heaven and I definitely agree! It's been SOO awesome to have someone to go running with in the morning. I think I accepted about half way through my mission that I wouldn't be able to run until after my mission but we've been getting up at 6 to run. I didn't realize how much I missed it! But at 6 it's still pretty dark and one morning I tripped on an un-even sidewalk...the pictures will explain the rest.
 
Well sorry that this email is so short but I love you all and I hope to hear from you soon! Have a good week. Dios les bendiga a todos
Con amor,
Hermana Billings

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014 - Redwood City

Happy New Year! I was a missionary for every single day of the year 2013! It's awesome to look back and see what happened in 2013. I'm excited for the new year, especially the months I have left as a full time missionary. I set new year resolutions but most of them revolved around missionary work so I'll probably have to set more goals when I get home.
 
This week was a good start to the new year with Yadira's baptism. She was supposed to be baptized last week with Melissa but her leg was hurting so we pushed it back one week. She has been ready for baptism for a long time and I have no idea why she never was baptized. She met with the missionaries about a year ago and according to her progress record in the area book they dropped her because she wasn't progressing. We asked her about it and she said she wasn't sure why they stopped meeting with her. Either way, I'm so glad that she called us! When she came out of the water she said, "thank you God" and when I asked her how she felt she said "Nuevo". I think that's a perfect description of baptism.
 
Some bad news for the week is that someone stole our bike lights! We were inside the library for a lesson with a less active and when we came out, not even an hour later, our lights were gone! I was so mad! But our nice zone leaders brought us some new ones that we can clip on and off easily.
 
Our most promising investigator right now is Robert. He is so excited for baptism and always asks us to come over on the weekends so that he's not tempted to go out drinking with his friends. He lives next door to Jose Luis and we contacted him on our way to an appointment with Jose Luis. By the way, more than half of our teaching pool is somehow connected to Jose Luis. Most of them are his family members and then two of them are his neighbors. I'm sure glad we met him!
 
Speaking of his family, his wife and 3 of his grandkids surprised us this Sunday by showing up for church for the first time! We always invite them but they always make up excuses as to why they can't come. I don't know why it was different this time but the girls loved primary and I wouldn't be surprised if they start showing up more often. His wife signed up to feed us dinner on Thursday too. It's always a good sign when investigators sign up to feed the missionaries.
 
Anyway, back to Robert. He's a mechanic and told us this week that he was going to build us a car so that we don't have to ride our bikes in the cold anymore. We tried to politely refuse his offer but you don't say no to Latinos. We even explained that we're not even technically allowed to drive non-mission cars but he didn't care. I guess if he really does end up giving us a car we can donate it to a poor family in the ward...Or maybe I'll just use it for after the mission since I no longer have a car of my own!
 
Oh the other good news this week is that Enrique came back from Mexico yesterday! We called him last night and he was SO happy to hear from us. He's usually a very emotionless person so it was kind of surprising. We asked when we could come teach him again and he said as soon as possible. He'll be another baptism coming up soon!
 
Well I hope everyone has a good week! Thanks for all your love, support and letters :). I love you all!
Love, Hermana Billings