Week 5 at the Mexico MTC

Semana 5 en el Mexico CCM

[No pictures this week, so I’ll share a favorite]

I, Hermana Billings, am a representative of Jesus Christ. I pray for the strength and skills to represent Him well.

I, Hermana Billings, am a representative of Jesus Christ. I will serve Him with all of my might and strength.

It´s bittersweet for me to think about how I have less than one week left here at the CCM. I´m looking forward to going to Utah Provo, but I have grown to love this place. The CCM actually reminds me a lot of BYU-Idaho (which is like my home away from home), just with different classes and subjects. However, I have been called to serve full-time in the Provo Utah area for 18 months, not the CCM. I can´t truly fulfill my purpose as a missionary until I leave the CCM and begin working with the people in the field. I would be more excited if I didn´t have to be at the Reception building at 2:00 am Tuesday morning, since our plane leaves at 6:00am and we have to be there early for international flights…. Yuck. Oh well. I´ll be obedient. I´ll do what I have to do, whether I want to be up at that hour in the morning or not.

In response to your question [about what advice to give to students to broaden then education], my tips for college would be:

  • Say thank you to your teachers everyday — As I did so, I grew to love and care for every teacher I had, and it really means a lot to them when you acknowledge their time and preparation for class.
  • Do the reading and preparation for class BEFORE class. This gives you a solid foundation and helps you develop a greater understanding of the concepts the professor expounds upon in class.
  • Don´t be afraid to ask questions if you don´t understand a concept. That´s why the teacher is there. And the tutoring system is wonderful as well. As I´ve tutored and been tutored, I´ve developed a testimony of the teaching-each-other concept.
  • Put the Lord first. I felt a difference when I prayed and read my scriptures in the morning before class. I had an easier time focusing, understanding, and accomplishing the assignments I needed to do that day. And making time to attend the temple helped me keep my focus on where it needed to be.
  • Schedule your priorities. Make time for the things that matter most, and everything else will either fall into place or fall out if it is not as important.

I´m not sure if we´ll be able to watch the Women´s Conference — we have classes and teaching opportunities throughout the day on Saturday, and we haven´t heard anything about watching it. If we don´t watch it, perhaps we can see it at the Mission Home or sometime soon around General Conference.

It’s hard not to be hard on myself, especially since I now wear Christ’s name on my chest and represent Him in all that I do. I’m only starting to understand what a huge responsibility that is to fulfill. But during my time here at the CCM, the Lord is softening me and helping me see areas I can improve, like forgetting myself and focusing totally on others (as that is what Christ did). This applies to when I study, pray, think, say, etc. However, as I do this, I feel happier inside, and I feel more love for those I serve. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve as a Sister Missionary Training Leader with Hermana McDermaid. I’ve developed a sincere love for the hermanas in our zone. They have such strong and powerful spirits and testimonies of this Gospel, and I know the Lord has great plans for them with the areas of the world they will serve.

This week has had a lot of ups and downs. Right after I finished my letter last week, I did my laundry, and when I checked on my whites, the washer had turned them a brownish pink. I was devastated. It stabbed me to the core, especially since my garments are so precious to me.  It was really stressful for me, and I cried — a lot. But that night, after I prayed for comfort (whether my whites became white again or not and I would have to purchase new ones), thoughts and impressions came in to my mind. I hadn´t felt happy or motivated that evening after that experience, and I realized it was because I was focusing all on me me me. I am not the only person in the world who has experienced this, and others have experienced worse, losing their entire homes or more. And, Jesus Christ has descended below all things. That night, I fell to my knees in humble prayer before the Lord, apologizing for my ungratefulness. Thankfully, Hermama Gill (Branch President´s wife) shared some Oxyclean with us and after two soaks and washings, they are white again. And as I pondered this experience this week in retrospect, I´ve been taught a lot about the power of the Atonement in our lives. Sometimes bad things happen — not because we have done anything wrong, but because we live in a fallen world and the Lord always us to experience trials and hardship to help us grow.

This week I´ve also been reminded of the benefit of daily physical exercise. The past few weeks, our district has taken naps during gym time more times than we´d like to admit, and this past Wednesday and Thursday night I felt the stress and energy building up inside of me from classes and learning and planning and teaching, and all I wanted to do was go run it all out, but it was 10:00pm at night and I couldn´t do that. So, Friday afternoon, while the hermanas took a nap, I exercised in the casa and broke out a huge sweat, but I felt AMAZING! I had a surge of energy, and that evening I was able to focus and determine a language learning plan system that worked for me. The days I exercise, I feel less stressed, more confident, and have more energy to devote to the Lord´s work. Our nutrition and physical fitness definitely have an impact on our ability to serve the Lord, and as the Word of Wisdom describes, receive personal revelation.

In addition, this week I’ve realized that I need to start getting out of my comfort zone with my Spanish – I need to incorporate more words that I learn, the conjugations as I speak, etc. It´s hard to go out of the comfort zone, but it is required. It´s like building a muscle — you must when the weight gets too easy, you need to bump up the weight to continue building. Growth requires stress. Not too much that it tears, but not too little that it atrophies.

I don’t have much time left. But this week we’ve been doing much better with our teaching appointments. When we taught Ezequiel, we asked him about church, his reading of the BofM, and about his acceptance of baptism. We asked him about any doubts he had about baptism, and afterwards, we bore witness that baptism is one of the first fruits of faith. It is a step of faith, not a perfect knowledge of all things. I then felt impressed to bear witness of the Holy Ghost and shared my feeling about that precious gift in my life. I find that we have an easier time remembering Spanish and applying it while we listen, observe, discern, and teach. While teaching Clavel, she told us that her older sister (28yo) just got pregnant, and her novio is only 18 yo with no prospects. We gave our condolences and bore witness that Christ could help her. And as we shared the message of the Restoration with her, we bore witness that like Joseph, she could ask God how she can help her family and He would help her know through the Spirit.

By the way, go read Elder Holland’s talk “Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments.” It is amazing. 🙂

Con muchas oraciones,

Hermana Billings

Moroni 8:3


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