Week 9 in the Utah Provo Mission

I always try to represent the Savior by looking into His Light.

I always try to represent the Savior by looking into His Light.

Thanksgiving (El Día de Acción de Gracias) was great. In the morning the Mission had “Turkey Bowls” for all the Zones. (I know. I was jumping for joy.) I guess missionaries like their football. We played two-hand touch football. I played and learned more about how to play football. President McCune and his wife visited our game for a little bit and played some rounds with us. Afterwards, we had lunch with an older lady who is alone a lot of the time. She is such a sweetheart. And later on that evening we had a lovely dinner with the ward Relief Society’s family. The rest of the day, because most everyone was busy, we visited a few people but mostly wrote and left sticky notes on doors. 🙂

Our missionary zone's Turkey Bowl Team.

Our missionary zone’s Turkey Bowl Team.

Saturday was really hard. We had all our appointments this afternoon canceled or fall through. It’s so disheartening when that happens, especially when you make so much effort to get members to come and then they say they can’t visit today. It’s hard, but when that happens, it tells me that the Lord has other plans for us and we need to be somewhere else during that time.

Saturday I also experienced my first family who invited us in to their home to Bible bash and attack our beliefs, acting all nice at the beginning but turning so argumentative. The spirit in that home did not feel right. We tried to share a small message, but they weren’t really interested in what we had to say. After we left, I just felt sick and weak. I was struggling. That experience just drained me. I talked with Hermana Martinez about the experience as we walked, and she taught me that when those things happen, you just need to get out of the situation as fast as you can — they are not willing to listen and you can’t fulfill your purpose as a missionary by staying there. The spirit cannot dwell in places of contention. As I listened to what they were saying and scriptures they were quoting (which I understood most of what they were speaking in Spanish), I felt this great love for them. I wanted to help them experience the greater light of the gospel, but they were very devout to their beliefs and had no desire to listen to anything we said. As Hermana Martinez and I walked and talked after this long day, she looked to me and said she had seen a miracle that day — she found out that she does have a sure testimony of this gospel.

I can hardly believe I've been on my mission 15 weeks!

I can hardly believe I’ve been on my mission 15 weeks!

As I reflected on the day, I realized that I can’t force people to listen to our message, no matter how much I love them. Yesterday morning I was studying Charity and Love in Preach My Gospel’s “Attributes of Christ,” and I prayed to feel a part of His love for the people here. And I felt it. I feel it. That’s why it hurts. And the Lord loves them more than I can possibly comprehend, and that is why He sent His Beloved Sin to the earth — HE is the GIFT. Nevertheless, He will not force His children to come unto Him, to open the door to His presence, to open the blinds and allow the light in. He is there at the door, but we must open our hearts and let Him in. And even though people may reject Him, He still loves them.

Sunday morning as I was studying the first part of 2 Nephi 25 with his words on Isaiah, I saw myself in those verses. To many of us, Isaiah’s words seem like a foreign language. But, for those who understand the culture, geography, and manner of his teaching (symbolism) and are filled with the spirit of prophecy, his words are plain unto them. Likewise, as I am learning Español, it can seem difficult to comprehend and almost impossible to learn. However, when I am filled with the spirit of the Lord and do my part to study Spanish, the words people say become plain to my mind and I can use the Spanish I have learned to help others come unto Christ.

I love finding cats wherever we walk.

I love finding cats wherever we walk.

Recientemente durante la Santa Cena, estaba pensando en la oportunidad sagrada que tenemos para participar de esta ordenanza. La Reunión Sacramental es una de las reuniones mas especiales en la Iglesia. Y somos tan bendecidos por tener el poder del sacerdocio en nuestras vidas, participar de la pan y agua, y reflejar en nuestras acciones de la semana pasada y determinar como podemos ser mejor discípulos de Jesucristo en la próxima semana. Es un momento muy corto pero muy sagrado.

My friend Elder Eric Gorman sent me this beautiful shawl from Peru.

My friend Elder Eric Gorman sent me this beautiful shawl from Peru.

I love the “He is the Gift” video SO much! Have you seen the “Because of Him” video as well? I love the quality and power of the spirit in these two videos. As missionaries they are asking us to utilize the “He is the Gift” with our proselyting efforts during the month of December. So yes, I guess you could say we are a part of this initiative. I love how the video reminds us the real purpose for Christmas. Were it not for Christ, we would not have Christmas in the first place. And with Spanish, the word Christmas can be broken down into “Cristo mas” — more Christ. 🙂 I also love how it ends with a triple — discover the Gift, embrace the Gift, and share the Gift. And I would extend an invitation to everyone who reads this letter to discover the Gift (Jesus Christ) every morning in the scriptures; embrace the Gift every day and make His gospel, teachings, and words a part of your very being; and pray for and looks for opportunities to share your testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel every day. And I know that as you do this, you will have the Spirit to be with you and He will help you know what to say in the very moment. And that is a promise from God (DyC 11:21 y DyC 84:85).

Hermana Martinez has such a strong spirit of missionary work. She will return home in three weeks.

Hermana Martinez has such a strong spirit of missionary work. She will return home in three weeks.

Send me pictures! I want to see what you guys are doing (and what our cats Dale and Chip look like now — It’s hard to imagine Dale not being the plus-sized model kitty I grew up knowing her as), what the house looks like decorated, etc! And yes, you can definitely send me those scripture quotes. Another reason to wake up every morning. 🙂

Keep going strong! We’re stronger than we think we are. 🙂

Hermana Billings

We shared Thanksgiving dinner with the ward Relief Society's family.

We shared Thanksgiving dinner with the ward Relief Society’s family.

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