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Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3, 2014 - Redwood City

Today is my 16 month mark and I am definitely more sad than happy. I really hope that the next 2 months crawl by. The response from my mission president of me wanting to extend my missions was: "not a chance". There's still room for a change of heart right? I guess I'll be coming home April 16th after all.

So this week was by far the most successful week that I've had on my mission. We have been short on investigators since the beginning of this transfer so we decided that we needed to do something different to find more people to teach. We decided to double the standard of excellence of 20 lessons a week and teach 40 lessons instead. We had NO idea where those lessons would come from but something my mission president taught me is that the Lord blesses the missionaries that hustle. And He did indeed bless us for our efforts! We reached our goal of teaching 40 lessons in one week and as a result found 8 new investigators. We've met with a few of them for the second time already and have appointments with the rest of them this coming week.  We taught our 40th lesson about 10 minutes before curfew on Sunday night...but we did it! 

Since we didn't have 40 people in our teaching pool we decided to teach people on the streets. Normally when we contact people we ask to share a card with them or some other proselyting material. This last week, however, we decided to approach people by simply asking if they'd like to hear a message about Jesus Christ. Surprisingly people were WAY more receptive to stop what they're doing and hear a 10 minute message than they are to take a card. If only I had known that 16 months ago! I loved watching people be touched by the spirit as we shared the message of the restoration. Some people would be hesitant to agree to listen to our message but by the end of our discussion they were thanking us and asking when we could come share more of our beliefs another day. Such a miracle!

Even though most people were receptive to hearing our message we got a lot of fake addresses and phone numbers. Which is normal. But one lady told us that she lives in "the apartments on Dumbarton #3" We asked her which apartments and she said there was only one. Sure enough, we show up to Dumbarton on Saturday morning and the whole street is lined with apartment complexes. So what did we do? We started at one end and knocked on every single #3 apartment on the whole street. We didn't find her...but we did our best!

A few weeks ago our bishop read a letter from the first presidency asking the members of the church to fast for rain on Feb. 2 to end the drought that California has been experiencing. We joined in on the fast and sure enough it rained all day. Unfortunately that meant that we had to bike in the rain all day. As we were biking the 3 miles to church, soaking wet and muddy I asked Sister Baird to remind me why we fasted for rain. We showed up to church looking like wet dogs and left every single church bench we sat on with wet marks. By the end of church we were finally dry...just in time to get wet on our bikes again. But it's all part of the experience!

So to update all of your about Lourdes and Enrique...Lourdes decided the night before her husband left for Mexico that she wanted to baptized before he left. The problem was she had to work all day the next day and there was like a one hour gap that we were going to try and squeeze it in. Unfortunately it didn't work out because they got stuck at the doctor's office. But at least she has the desire. We're not sure if she'll wait for her husband to come back from Mexico (which could be as long as 6 months) or if she'll just go along and do it without him.

Enrique picked Feb 14th to be baptized and couldn't be more prepared! Even though he hasn't been able to come to church the last few weeks because of his community service, the ward members have been really supportive in coming to lessons with us to get to know him.

Something I learned this week that I wanted to share with everyone is from John 9:33 If something (or someone) isn't from God, then they can do nothing. All I know is that during my mission I've accomplished way more than I am capable of accomplishing on my own. Looking back on what I've been able to do is a testimony to me that this work really must be of God. He's the one doing all the work. If this gospel weren't true I'm sure missionaries would have messed it up a long time ago. Every now and then I realize that we're just a bunch of kids out here and the only reason we have success is because it really is of God. The message we share is directly from God. Otherwise it wouldn't be possible for 18-25 year olds to have such an impact on the growth of the church. Even everything that Joseph Smith accomplished was only possible because it was from God.

Well I hope everyone is doing well and I can't wait to hear from you soon! Have a good week!
Un abrazo,
Hermana Billings

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