Week 5 in the Utah Provo Mission

I loved this wall they have in the stake center. The picture in the middle is going to be the new Provo city temple. We work the temple booth every other week and answer questions anyone has who walks in.

I love this wall in the stake center. The picture in the middle is going to be the new Provo city temple. We work the temple booth every other week and answer questions anyone has who walks in the building during that time.

To address your questions, yes, I did receive your Dear Elder letter — thanks for sharing the info about the changes to the BYU schools’ College Religious courses and Institute program. I love the focuses of the new classes they will offer sometime next year. I love how the Church is strengthening the Primary, YW/YM, Sunday School, Seminary, and Institute programs. Our children and youth need strong foundations in Christ and His Gospel if they are going to be able to withstand the storms Satan is developing around us in the world. (Matt 25:1-11 and Helaman 5:12).

Yes, I am loving all the colors of fall here in Provo. It is absolutely gorgeous. It’s starting to get cold though. It might snow in the next couple days. It’s different than my experience in Idaho. Instead of simply bundling up to walk quickly from one building to the next, I have to plan my outfits and wear enough layers to walk outside all afternoon and evening and be able to take a few layers off when we go inside for appointments. It’s been a fun experience learning the tricks of the trade for doing it. 😉

This is one of the views from the lovely hill we get to climb every week. You can't see the steep part behind the houses to the left, but our legs get an intense workout every time we go up them. (If you zoom up close in the upper left corner, you can the Provo temple.)

This is one of the views from the lovely hill we get to climb every week. You can’t see the steep part behind the houses to the left, but our legs get an intense workout every time we go up them. (If you zoom up close in the upper left corner, you can the Provo temple.)

I’m so glad you guys are trying to improve your eating habits. (Funny note — last night I had a dream of me being a physician assistant. It was really cool.) Whenever people ask me what I recommend for good health, my first response is the Word of Wisdom. I’ve been learning more about that and trying to apply it more, especially when it says “with temperance and thanksgiving.” How sincere am I in my prayers before meals? How gracious am I to others when they share dinner with us? Those questions have really struck me lately.

Yesterday I felt frustrated with myself. Our Relief Society president asked us earlier that week if we could help her teach the Relief Society lesson that week on Alma 5. During our companionship study, my mind was everywhere. I couldn’t feel what the Spirit was saying we needed to share during the Relief Society lesson that afternoon. I felt down about myself, seeing so many weaknesses in me and feeling like I’m not worthy or qualified for this work and I doubted my abilities in Spanish. Before we started The First 12-Weeks program (which is a program that continues, complements, and completes the training from the MTC), I knelt down by my bed and talked with my Father in Heaven, explaining how I felt and asking Him to help me see the good He sees in me and to help me calm down. As we began our 12-Week Program study, Hermana Martinez noticed I wasn’t doing well, stopped our reading, and asked me what was going on. I finally opened up, with tears streaming down my cheeks. As we talked, I started to calm down and she reminded me that I am still new at this work. As she spoke, the words of Ether 12:27 came into my mind. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” I then realized that the Lord called me to be a missionary with all my weaknesses and strengths included in the package of me. No, I’m not perfect, and I can’t fulfill this work on my own. It is His grace that sustains me through the darkest night. It is His strength that helps me up that mountain. It is He I must rely on, and only in and through Him can I complete the work He has called me to do His work in the Utah Provo Mission. It really meant a lot to me that Hermana Martinez would take the time to help me, listen, and establish that companionship unity before we continued. (Interestingly enough, the section we were going to study for the 12 weeks that day was on Chapter 4 from Preach My Gospel – How to Recognize the Spirit.)

I've not been feeling very well all week, but I keep on trekking!

I’ve not been feeling very well all week, but I keep on trekking!

Later on that afternoon as we taught the Relief Society lesson on Alma 5, at first I was shaking with nervousness. But as Hna Martinez started off the lesson, impressions came to my mind on what I needed to share. And as I gathered up the courage to open my mouth, the words flowed. I remembered the conjugations to use and was able to use them to share the feelings of my heart, bearing witness of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. I didn ‘t know all the words to use, but the sisters were very kind and helped me out. It’s interesting to me how my call to speak and teach in Spanish is helping me (in a forcing kind of way) to rely on the Lord. As I listen, observe, and discern by the spirit, then the Lord places in my heart the message they need and I can speak them by His spirit. Without the spirit, I can do nothing. Humildad es clave en esta obra.

¡Te amo mucho!

Hermana Billings

Kathleen’s weekly e-mail to Elizabeth:

Haha, I love how you guys spent Halloween. Much better than contributing to the world-wide epidemic of childhood obesity. Our district did the same thing for Halloween – we got to watch Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Apparently on Holidays like Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s, 4th of July, etc, we get to watch a movie approved by the mission president’s wife, Sister McCune. I heard that in the past they’ve watched movies like Up and Frozen as well. I guess I won’t be movie-less on my mission entirely. So I won’t be too weird when I get back. 😉 ) I think I’ve seen the movie Clue once [based on the board game]. Is it the one with all the different possible endings [actually 3 different endings]?

Wow, four bags of clothes to give away?? It’s crazy how much stuff can just collect and take up space. I know that since I started my mission I’ve been realizing how much excess baggage and unnecessary things I brought with me that simply take up space. It feels so good to be relieved of the excess and not have it in the way or cluttering up my life. It can really have an effect on me, mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Love you!

Your sister forever,

Hermana Billings

Hermana Martinez and our beautiful Provo Valley view.

Hermana Martinez and our beautiful Provo Valley view.

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