Week 7 in the Provo Utah Mission

The first snowfall is here in Provo, Utah.

The first snowfall is here in Provo, Utah.

November 17, 2014

This week the snow and cold weather appeared overnight, and we have been freezing our tail bones off. But we’re still alive. And today we went to Deseret Book and I bought some thermal garments. Estoy muy entusiasmada por probarles. [I am excited to try them out.] I am grateful that I’m not in Rexburg right now — if I heard correctly, it is the South Pole up there. Although, all this walking outside in 20-degree afternoon/evening weather is making my treks at BYU-Idaho from building to building seem like nothing. It’s so crazy how fast time flies.

I am going to be straight out honest — missionary life is hard. Directing all of our efforts, studies, steps, and actions to serving others and helping people establish a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father is very tiring. Every night we return to our apartment and just want to collapse on our beds and sleep for a century. Our legs hurt, our eyes are exhausted, and our faces barely have feeling in them from the wind and below-20 temperatures, but somehow we have enough energy to kneel down before our Lord and Savior and plead for the strength, companionship and guidance of His Spirit to help guide our minds to the people we need to visit and what we can do to help them progress in their conversion to Christ and His Gospel. Some days it’s really hard to continue when doors are “slammed” in our face, they aren’t home or don’t open the door even though we set an appointment with them, or they don’t keep their commitments, read the Book of Mormon, pray, or come to church. It hurts because we love them. The Lord has blessed us with a portion of His love for them individually! And that love makes all the difference.

Kathleen stays warm by eating hot food during her meals.

I try to stay warm by eating hot food during my meals.

Because of this love for them, we desire to help them experience the joy and knowledge of Christ that we have thanks to His Restoration of His Church and Gospel to the earth once again. Thanks to the Restoration, we know we aren’t left alone to wander in this life. God is real and He loves us. He knows us personally by name. And He didn’t just speak to the inhabitants of the earth in ancient times — I know that God speaks today through a living Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in the grove of trees that beautiful spring morning in response to Joseph Smith’s humble prayer and that Christ called Joseph to be His prophet on the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is a true record of God’s dealings with the inhabitants of the Americas. I know God spoke to His prophets among the Nephites and that Jesus Christ visited them after His Resurrection and established His church among them. I know the Book of Mormon is written for our day and every page testifies if Jesus Christ. Christ is more than a person spoken of in the scriptures. He is the literal Son of God, the Savior of the World, our Heavenly Father’s greatest gift for all mankind.

Ever since I’ve come on my mission, I am coming to know who Christ is. Right now as I read the Book of Mormon and New Testament, I am looking for Him, seeking Him in every page, and He is there. His constant character of turning outward and directing ALL of His thoughts, actions, words, and efforts to the benefit and service of others at ALL times and in ALL things and in ALL places. Even in the most painful, difficult times of His life, in EVERY moment He focuses on making sure others are doing alright. He is our perfect example in all things. One of the hardest things we must do in this life is overcome the natural man’s tendencies to turn inward and think in terms of “I, me, and mine.” Instead we must turn outward, become selfless, and focus our efforts in helping and serving others. King Benjamin describes this process to his people during his address in front of the temple: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). We can’t make this change on our own – it’s impossible. By ourselves, we can’t do it. But with the grace of God, through the miraculous power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we can. We become saints THROUGH His Atonement that we can do this. Everything that God does He does for us. That is one reason why we are here on earth – to learn to be like God and turn outward as well.

I'm starting my trek up hill to visit some investigators.

I’m starting my trek up hill to visit some investigators.

Cristo vive y volverá a la tierra en gloria para reunir a Sus ovejas. Jesucristo es el Unigénito del Padre, el aguas viviente, el pan de la vida, el Palabra de Dios, el Creador y Salvador del mundo. Él fue nacido de María en Belén, caminó los calles de Galilee, demostró el camino para volver con Dios, pagó el precio por nuestros pecados en el Jardín de Getsemaní, dio su vida en la cruz, y se levanto del sepulcro en el tercero día. Gracias a Él, no necesitamos tener miedo en este mundo. Con fe en Él y su poder de la Expiación, podemos arrepentirnos y llegar a ser digno para regresar a la presencia del nuestro Padre Celestial. Por Su Gracia, obtenemos esperanza.

Continuamente depende en Cristo. El es nuestra Fuerza, Luz, y Esperanza en esta vida.

[TRANSLATION: Christ lives and will return to earth in glory to gather His sheep. Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father, the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Word of God, the Creator and Savior of the world. He was born of Mary in Bethlehem, walked the streets of Galilee, showed the way to return to God, paid the price for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, He gave His life on the cross and rose from the grave on the third day. Thanks to Him, we need not be afraid of anything in this world. With faith in Him and the power of the Atonement, we can repent and become worthy to return to Heavenly Father’s presence. By His grace, we get hope. We need to continuously depend on Christ. He is our Strength, Light, and Hope in this life.]

Here I am next to the mountains of Provo, Utah.

Here I am next to the mountains of Provo, Utah.

Love you all! ❤

Hermana Billings

P.S. Mom, it’s so funny — whenever I try to say a prayer in English, I inevitably slip into Spanish. Every time. And then I catch myself. I’m sure Hermana Martinez just smiles.

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