Week 8 in the Utah Provo Mission

We begin our walk up the hill to visit member families and investigators.

We begin our walk up the hill to visit member families and investigators.

November 24, 2014

It’s so crazy how fast time is starting to fly. It feels just like yesterday I got off the plane in Mexico City and arrived by bus to the Mexico MTC, and here I am, serving the Lord in the Spanish language.

To answer one of your questions, Mom, we have lunch and dinner appointments on Thanksgiving.

One principle I’ve been learning lately is the importance to put my trust in the Lord. With so many new words to learn in Spanish, I tend to get down on myself with not knowing the language as well as I would hope. But this past week I’ve had many people tell me how much my Spanish has been improving, so I need to be more confident in what I can do. People tell me that they can understand me very well when I speak, and when I do speak, I pronounce and conjugate well. I guess I need to be less hard on myself, but at the same time it’s hard, since I look down and see Christ’s name on my name tag

We got to see Elder D. Todd Christofferson yesterday night! Our stake had its 75th anniversary, and Elder Christofferson was the main speaker at the fireside. I learned that he actually served his mission in Argentina and speaks fluent, beautiful Spanish! 🙂 The message he shared with us focused on the need for everyone to become fully active in the service of the Lord and hold up the light of Christ. One general authority who came and visited our mission, told us that only 6% of church members are actively engaged in sharing the gospel with those around them. And that number includes the full-time missionaries.

Hermana Martinez and I were so wet after walking in the rain. Companeras!

Hermana Martinez and I were so wet after walking in the rain. Companeras!

There are over 85,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world, but we should actually have 15,000,000 missionaries in the church right now if all of us would be actively engaged in this gospel with those people whom the Lord has put in our path. These people include those we encounter in the supermarket, in the elevator, in the halls, parking lot, school, library, playground, etc. The Lord has placed those people in our path and given us stewardship over them. We have the responsibility to be a representative of Jesus Christ at all times, and in all things, and in all places (Mosiah 18:9, 2 Timothy 4:12) — and that call includes every single one of us. Like the Lord asked Peter in the New Testament, He asked each of us, calling us by name, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15). God loves each of His children and wants all of them to come unto Him and feel of His peace and love.

The small and simple things we do each day make a huge impact on us. This week I was reading a talk from Sister Esplin’s General Conference remarks this past general conference, and this statement really stood out to me:

“As parents, we can teach our children to pray for things of eternal consequence–to pray for the strength to be morally clean in a very challenging world, to be obedient, and to have the courage to stand for the right.

Hermana Martinez performed a "heart attack" on my study wall.

Hermana Martinez performed a “heart attack” on my study wall.

“No doubt most of our youth have their evening prayers, but perhaps many of them struggle with the habit of personal morning prayer. As parents, as their prime gospel teachers, we can correct this. Which parent in Book of Mormon times would have let their sons march out to the front of battle without a breastplate and shield and sword to protect them against the potentially mortal blows of the enemy? But how many of us let our children march out the front door each morning to the most dangerous of all battlefields, to face Satan and his myriad of temptations, without their spiritual breastplate and shield and sword that come from the protective power of prayer? The Lord said, ‘Pray always, … that you may conquer Satan’ (D&C 10:5). As parents, we can help instill within our children the habit and power of morning prayer” (“Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children” Oct 2014 General Conference).

I can add my testimony of this. The Lord has given us commandments because He loves us and wants us to be safe and have happiness in this life, and one of those commandments is to pray and read the scriptures daily — when we put the Lord first in our life and start our day feasting on His word and pleading in prayer with Him morning and night (Alma 37:36-37), put on the Armor of God, which helps guide us, protects us, aids us in overcoming the temptations of the devil, and invites His Spirit into our lives. We need that spiritual protection in our lives. With Christ as our foundation, we will not fall (Helaman 5:12).

Keep staying close to the Spirit. Come to know Christ, not just know of Him. He is more than a story in the Bible — He is our living Savior and Redeemer!

I love you guys!

Hermana Billings

Beautiful sunset. Don't forget to notice the little beauties in life. (I love Elder Uchtdorf's talk "Forget Me Not" -- Elder Uchtdorf has become one of my favorite General Authorities for Conference talks on my mission.)

Beautiful sunset. Don’t forget to notice the little beauties in life. (I love Elder Uchtdorf’s talk “Forget Me Not” — Elder Uchtdorf has become one of my favorite General Authorities for Conference talks on my mission.)

[From a response to Elizabeth’s e-mail after telling Hermana Billings to “have a blast on her mission.”

Haha, I guess you could describe a mission as “a blast.” Joyful, painful, glorious, scary, wonderful, crazy, spectacular, fast, slow — it’s not what I expected, but I am enjoying it.]

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