Week 26 in the Utah Provo Mission

Photograph of my district.

Photograph of my district

Ohhhhh, I like that definition of “joy”! Remind me to get that dictionary as an app on my iPad when I get home. That would be fun to use as I study the scriptures.

[Mom’s e-mail included these definitions of “joy”: So I looked up “joy” in the 1828 Webster’s dictionary (the dictionary that Joseph Smith might have used).  It shares that the noun comes from the French term “joie” which means “to shout or to rejoice.”   Definition #1: “The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good, caused by success, good fortune, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire.” Then it quotes John Locke: “Joy is a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good.” Definition 2: “Gayety; mirth; festivity. “The roofs with joy resound” (Dryden). Definition 3: “Happiness; felicity.” “Her heavenly form beheld, all wished her joy” (Dryden). Definition 4: “A glorious and triumphant state.” “Who for the joy was set before him, endured the cross” (Hebrews 12). Definition 5: “The cause of joy or happiness.” “For ye are our glory and joy” (1 Thess. 2). [Interesting to include references to Christ in the last two definitions.] Definition 6: “A term of fondness; the cause of joy.” I have en”joyed” using this dictionary because it includes not only the secular definition but definitions involving morality and religion—the way that words were meant to be defined. The meanings become clearer in application to our spiritual lives. Christ is our “joy or happiness.” Christ endured the Atonement because of the “joy” that He knew we would experience because of His Atonement. These two bring so much more to the meaning of the term—we find “joy” through Jesus Christ.]

At a training meeting, I was able to spend a few minutes with my companions from the Mexico MTC.

At a training meeting, I was able to spend a few minutes with my companions from the Mexico MTC.

I am so honored for this chance this week to be a part of the “He Lives” initiative to help us remember what Easter is all about and the blessings that come from it — living prophets and apostles guided by our Lord and Savior, helping us to reach our land of promise. I am SO excited for General Conference this week. I won’t be going up to Salt Lake to view conference live this time, but I was actually hoping I wouldn’t because I want to watch it in the home of one of our investigators and with our recent converts and less active families. Maybe this next time. But I am happy I am staying here.

The Women’s Conference was POWERFUL! (And watching it in Spanish makes it that much more fun. Mom, you should learn Spanish. I like the gospel in Spanish.) As I listened to Sister Oscarson’s talk, Ephesians 4:11-14 came to my mind.

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The Apostles in Christ’s time were trying to teach us and the people living in that time the importance of living revelation and how the Lord works through living prophets and apostles. God knew what would be happening in this time, and so He prepared these tools to help us be guided safely home.

Hermana Flores takes a "silly" selfie as I am playing "I Love to See the Temple" on a ward piano.

Hermana Flores takes a “silly” selfie as I am playing “I Love to See the Temple” on a ward piano. I have to stay serious to play all the notes.

And yes, I have been going shopping a lot recently. Because you know what I found out? I GET TO BE PART OF THE PAYSON TEMPLE OPEN HOUSE! And in preparation for this, our mission president and his wife have asked us as a mission to look professional — the elders to look sharp and the sisters to look lovely—so this means, to clean up. Look our best at all times. (And so I have been going through my clothes, personal care items, etc., and reducing and simplifying. And buying a few things. The mission is helping me find out what my style is and who I am as a daughter of God and representative of Him, my Savior Jesus Christ. The other day I realized how precious my name tag is. There are four names associated with my name plaque — mine, my family’s the church’s, and, most importantly, Christ’s. And I want to live up to that name.

And yes, I bought some new shirts, skirts, and some Dumbbells — I have been DYING to do weight training in the mornings, so I finally gave in and bought some hand weights. I am so excited. I’ll take pictures of the new clothes and such, and pictures at the temple open house when that starts. We have a few weeks of training, and it will start around the time of transfers. (And ALL the sisters are being involved because of the drop in the number of sisters that is occurring. But they will pick back up with the summer months coming up.)

I get so excited when I see a cat, so I have to take his picture.

I get so excited when I see a cat, so I have to take his picture.

This morning I was reading in 2 Nephi 4, and I realized that Nephi went through the same kind of thing I did in my mission this last transfer. I was becoming overly discouraged and was trying to carry the whole burden on my shoulders, but then through much prayer, fasting, feasting on the scriptures, talks with leaders, priesthood blessings, and more, I finally realized what trust the Lord has in me, HIS expectations for me here, and the role the Atonement plays in our lives as missionaries.

My invitation this week: read Mosiah 2:1-9 and ponder on how we can prepare ourselves this week to feast upon the words of Christ as spoken through His living prophets and apostles. As a representative of Christ, I can testify that I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s living mouthpiece upon the earth, God’s priesthood has been restored upon the earth, and the Book of Mormon is one of the Liahonas God has prepared for this day and age to help us through the desert of time to reach our promised land of eternal life.

Love you! And please share the video “He lives.” (I love the triple in there!)

¡Cristo vive!

Hermana Billings

Another district picture (minus my companion the photographer).

Another district picture (minus my companion the photographer).

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