Week 33 in the Utah Provo Mission

Hermana Bonilla and I had to put on our winter coats as the temperatures plummeted.

Hermana Bonilla and I had to put on our winter coats as the morning temperatures are still in the 40’s.

Tuesday I was feeling overwhelmed with homesickness after our visit on Sunday, so I asked one of the senior couple missionaries for a priesthood blessing. It calmed my worries and helped me get out of that pit. Wednesday we had a big zone conference with President McCune. While there, we learned about the importance of working together with members to help God’s children come unto Him. Afterwards, I went up to President McCune and explained how I had been struggling with stress recently and feeling overwhelmed. And he told me that he is not concerned about numbers. He told me that stress isn’t my enemy — I will have stress all my life, and it is about learning to relieve and manage that stress. And we also feel overwhelmed when we are trying to do everything by ourselves. And then he looked me in the eye and told me: Go, and love those families. This week, his words have been a great strength to me. At times I feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done, with so many ways I can improve and be better, etc. And what President McCune told me was powerful. He didn’t give me a huge list of things to do. He simply said to LOVE them. And that has helped me get that motivation back to go out and serve God’s children. I love them and want them to have this happiness that I have thanks to the gospel (like Lehi — 1 Nefi 8:10-12).

Hermana Bonilla decorated our mirror for my birthday.

Hermana Bonilla decorated our mirror for my birthday.

Thursday morning I received a call from Sister McCune, wishing me a Happy Birthday. It surprised me and touched my heart that she would take that moment from her busy schedule to call me and wish me a Happy Birthday. That morning we served at the temple open house. Later that day we followed the spirit, talking with families in the street and inviting them to act and share their testimony, read the Book of Mormon, and visit the Payson Temple Open House. That night we got caught in the rain and hail. I brought my umbrella, but the winds were so strong that my umbrella was doing no good for us. And as we walked home, a storm spontaneously erupted and we ran to find cover. We huddled by one of the signs as we called one of the Ward missionaries to see if they could come save us from the storm. As we huddled there, I just laughed. Hna. Bonilla told me earlier that day that in Honduras there is a tradition that on someone’s birthday, they spray them with water. And here’s the earth, doing it to me.

That night during nightly planning, I broke down with stress. Sister Wicker, one of our sister training leaders, was there waiting to reunite with her companion after splits that day, and she gave me a hug and talked with me about what was going through my mind. I explained how I felt stressed and overwhelmed and that I wasn’t good enough. Sister Wicker then looked me in the eye and told me that I was a good missionary. The Lord didn’t call me to be perfect — He called me to be the best me I can be. He knows of my weaknesses, and will help me see the strengths I have. That is my prayer this week: that the Lord will help me recognize the miracles that happen every day and see the good in me. My goal: Charity and Love. Not only with others, but also with myself.

Friday morning we woke up bright and early and came to the temple. Hermana Bonilla and I started in the Reception tent, and while there we were called over to speak with a Hispanic father and son. They told us that they felt amazing inside the temple and were amazed at what they saw and felt. The father told us he had some questions, and he talked about how in the past Jesus Christ gave the gift of the Holy Ghost to His apostles and there were prophets in the past, and then he asked us what happened to them. We then testified of the Restoration, sharing the First Vision of Joseph Smith and testifying of the love of our Heavenly Father and of the Restoration of prophets, apostles, temples, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and revelation. He was really touched and expressed a desire to learn more about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. They told us that they had talked with missionaries a year ago but hadn’t seen them since. Their friend’s son just came home from his mission and gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited them to read it. They then asked us what we enjoy most of the mission. I explained that my favorite part is seeing the change in a person’s countenance as he comes to know for himself the truth of the Restoration, receiving this witness from the source of all Truth, our Father in Heaven, and noticing that light come into his eyes through that and witnessing that change. After saying this, he looked straight into my eyes, paused, and told me that he could see that light in my eyes, and that light is a reflection of who I am inside. He told me to keep that light — he could see it and he knew I was a good missionary, a representative of Christ.

Breakfast with the bishop and his wife.

Breakfast with the bishop and his wife.

Later that morning, I was talking with a return sister missionary, and she told me about how her mission has blessed her life so much. Whenever a hard time comes in her life, an experience from her mission will come to mind and give her a better perspective and trust in the Lord. She told me that after her mission, she decided to continue reaching out to others and acting as Christ would, serving and reaching out.

Saturday we moved to our new home. Hermana Bonilla is so excited now — she gets to sleep in a king-size bed (She’s really crazy about her bed) and I get a full size (it’s bigger than my last one, so I’m not complaining). And she told me she is going to sleep deliciously every night, like a baby.

Then later that day we went to the temple. While there in the reception tent, I met a family, and they introduced their daughter to me, who has been thinking of serving a mission and asked me about why I chose to serve a mission. I told her that the reason was Love — love for my Savior and a desire to share this happiness I feel throughout knowledge I have of my identity, purpose, and potential thanks to the restored gospel. I told her that serving a mission was the best choice I have made in my life. Yes, I have experienced many challenges and difficulties, but I am so grateful for the moments seeing the light of Christ come into the eyes of people I have grown to love through serving them. Also, I talked with a Hispanic father who asked me about what happens in the different rooms of the temple and their purpose. And the spirit took over, and I found myself explaining to him in Spanish and testifying of the truth of what the missionaries are teaching him in his home. It was so special.

Sunday afternoon our “Golden Investigator” had her baptism interview, and the elders told us that she is a woman of great faith. Afterwards she told us that this is the best decision she has made in her entire life. She is so excited to start her family history and go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead on behalf of her family. She is just glowing! Later that night we taught Adrian and Rosario Garcia, and we did a game with the Book of Mormon to demonstrate how the Book of Mormon answers the questions of the soul. You start with a question in mind. Then you turn to a random page in the Book of Mormon and read those opened pages to find your answer. They were really touched by the spirit and began to see the power that is found in the Book of Mormon.

This morning we again worked in the temple. Waking up at 5am is a killer (and every time I just want to destroy that alarm), but once we’re at the temple, it is all worth it. Seeing all those beautiful faces of those children of God coming to visit the temple is touching.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes — they made my day. 🙂

¡Te amo! ❤

¡Cristo vive!

Hermana Billings

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