Week 11 in the Utah Provo Mission

Hermana Martinez and Hermana Billings share some "sisterly" time together before Hermana Martinez returns home from her mission.

Hermana Martinez and Hermana Billings share some “sisterly” time together before Hermana Martinez returns home from her mission.

December 15, 2014

Sorry I’m emailing so late, we just got home from our District activity where we played the T-shirt game (I like it more than Apples to Apples), White Elephant, and signed notebooks. It’s so nice to have a little fun and relieve some stress before we get back to work.

Thanks for the information about the Payson Temple open house dates. I’m not sure where I will be from April to May, but I hope that I can serve in the open house — that would be an amazing way to spend my 20th birthday next year.

It’s so strange sitting here writing this letter after watching Hermana Martinez start packing her bags as she readies to go home on Thursday. These past eleven weeks have been a blessing to serve alongside her in this area among these special children of God.

This week has been full of trials and tender mercies of the Lord. I’m learning more about how the Lord feels and how vital it is to rely on the Lord and put my confidence in Him. The Lord is preparing the hearts of men to come unto Christ. I am also learning how some children of God are only children in the gospel and haven’t used their spiritual muscles for a long time, so their spiritual muscles have become weak and it is a struggle for them when we ask them to change their routine. Habits are hard to change. And if individuals don’t have support, they will just fall back to what they are comfortable with.

I’m praying for the gift of discernment during our lessons and discussions with families and individuals, and I can feel the Lord working in me. I am understanding more Spanish than I ever have before. I’m a very visual person, so I have an easier time understanding Spanish when the words are written down, but the Lord is working a miracle in me. Before I came on my mission, I was scared about learning Spanish, but as I focus my efforts in Spanish to help strengthen the stakes where I serve and help those with whom I come in contact come unto Christ and feel His love in their life, the Spanish comes more easily. And now the Spanish words others speak don’t sound as fast as they were before.

Hermana Kathleen Billings loves the people and her mission!

Hermana Kathleen Billings loves the people and her mission!

I am also learning about the importance of humility in this work. Like Ammon says, “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever” (Alma 26:12). In Him I can do this work.

This morning as I was studying Mosiah 18 in the Book of Mormon, I came upon this verse: “And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever” (Mosiah 18:30). This place of Mormon was very sacred to the people of Alma because of the great spiritual experiences they had there. And that is how I feel about Provo Utah and seeing this joy in the eyes of those we serve.

Earlier this week we had one of the Seventy (Elder Clarke) come and visit us for our Zone Conference. Gosh did he slam us. (It felt like an Elder Bednar or Elder Holland kind of talk.) Friday afternoon at the end of our weekly planning, I was just sitting there and Hermana Martinez looked at me and asked me what was going on and if I was being nervous. And I didn’t even realize it at the moment, but after she mentioned it, I realized that yes, I was really nervous about the transfers coming up. I’ll be the one leading us around this area and introducing my new companion to the families in the ward. But like always, Hermana Martinez paused and took the time to help me out. I will be forever grateful for her and the example she has been to me of patience, love, and service. One thing she said that stood out to me was to rely on the Lord. This is His work, and He is the one in charge.

We went caroling Saturday Night as a district! After visiting some of our investigators, we dropped by the Mission President’s home before heading back to our homes to sing a Christmas carol for them.

I’ll email you next week with the time I will skype you for Christmas and with pictures of my new compañera. 🙂

Got to run out the door — we have an Family Home Evening to go teach. Love you all!

Hermana Billings

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