Week 16 in the Utah Provo Mission

After falling, I'm playing it off gracefully.

After falling, I’m playing it off gracefully.

January 19, 2015

Thanks for the photos of Chip (my cat) — I was a happy camper. And my love for cats must be rubbing off on you. Taking pictures is I exactly what I would have done. Muy bien, mama. 😉 My companions must think I’m weird because I love cats so much. Cats have won my heart, what can I say. And thanks for the symbolism chart (items and possible symbolic meanings used in Isaiah and other scriptures) — I’m excited to study and read through it more and apply it as I study. Who knows, it could help me help others understand and apply the scriptures to themselves as well. And thanks also for the daily scripture and quote — I really like them. And it’s actually really interesting to me how the quote is exactly what I needed to read at that moment or fits perfectly with what can help the families we teach.

Thanks for sending me a copy of the letter I wrote to myself that first semester at BYU-Idaho. (The other day I was actually wondering about what happened to that.) I remember how desperately I wanted to go on a mission “as soon as possible,” and ever since I was 16, I wanted to receive my endowment. But, all in the Lord’s timing. Yes, I do feel like I have lived up to those hopes and dreams I had when I was 17 of where I would be when I was 19. And I couldn’t be happier. 🙂

This past week I’ve noticed that I have a lot of stress and energy built up inside me. I think that’s one reason I’ve cried almost every day this week and that I toss a lot throughout the night. During our weekly planning session Friday morning, I burst into tears. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for the Lord and His work. I felt like I wasn’t doing everything I needed to to help His children progress and come into Him. But Hermana Lopez spent the time to help me realize that all this negative thoughts were from Satan, trying to get me to doubt myself, my identity, my potential, and where my true strength is (which is in Jesucristo). And yesterday Hna Lopez was feeling really sick, so while she rested I read part of Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge’s talk “The Fourth Missionary.” As a I read, I noticed that inside me, all that stress, all those “standards” and high expectations I have set for myself, all those worries about the future, all those feelings of inadequacy, all those insecurities I have about myself — all of this that I have been holding on to is just a lot of excess baggage, excess baggage that I don’t need to carry, excess emotional and mental baggage that have been affecting me, pulling me back. In that moment that I recognized this, I said to myself “enough is enough”. I fell in my knees, supplicating to the Lord, pouring out my heart, and dedicating myself to His work. It’s interesting to me how the Lord works. He is helping me one step at a time let go of that stress and baggage. He wants me to help Him succeed, to let go of that baggage and move on, to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. He wants to help me, work with me, but first I have to be willing. I have to be humble enough to ask for His help, to not rely of my strength but rely on His. And from that moment when I put those worries in a box and handed them over to the Lord, I have felt lightened. I don’t have as much stress inside. And actually, I am realizing that I have other insecurities that I need to work out with the Lord, but I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to help me let it go. (Jaja, makes me think of the movie “Frozen.”)

The work is really picking up in our stake. We are working more with the leaders and members, and miracles keep happening every day. This Sunday a less-active family whom we have been working with for a long time actually came to Sacrament Meeting this week! And they want to come back and go to the temple. So far in my mission, I’ve learned that serving a mission isn’t about numbers — it is about helping God’s children move along the gospel and covenant path, helping them come unto Christ starting from where they are, and pointing them to the eternities and the blessings of the temple. The three things that are the most precious to me on this earth are my temple recommend, my Book of Mormon, and my relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ.

Bowling can bring some real frustrations for Hermana Lopez.

Bowling can bring some real frustrations for Hermana Lopez.

I have a testimony of the gifts of the spirit. We were talking about them en la clase de los Principios del Evangelio, and as I listened, I reflected back on these past months and how I’ve experienced many of those gifts as I’ve served God’s children. Four months ago I would not have understood the words the teacher said. But yesterday I understood the entire lesson, shared my testimony and thoughts as led by the spirit, and felt spiritually enlightened from the lesson. The gift of tongues is real. The gift of interpretation of tongues is real. God is real, and He will bless us with the gifts of the spirit we need to fulfill His work as we study and pray, serve others, and use those gifts for the benefit of others.

And as it turns out, people are now starting to find out that I can play the piano. I actually like playing, and it’s a wonderful way to serve and invite the spirit. (And now I guess I’ll have more chances to practice and just relax while serving others.)

Hermana Billings

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