Week 37 in the Utah Provo Mission

Hermana Bonilla and I stop for a moment to get a picture for our mothers.

Hermana Bonilla and I stop for a moment to get a picture for our mothers.

I love that Gratitude Challenge you shared. I’m going to complete it.

  1. Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for the ability to walk, to smell, to see the light of Christ in the eyes of others, to hear, to laugh, to cry, to sense the spirit, to sleep, to type and write, and to give hugs.

  1. Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for my patriarchal blessing, my temple recommend, my scriptures, my iPad, my sunblock, our bikes to take us from one home to the next, my helmet which protects my head if anything would happen, my alarm which helps me get up on time, music that motivates me and fills me with the spirit, and my name plaque which helps me remember Who I represent.

  1. Write 10 living people you are grateful for. 

    I taught Hermana Bonilla how to make brownies. She had never made them before!

    I taught Hermana Bonilla how to make brownies. She had never made them before!

I am grateful for my companion, Hermana Bonilla; my STLs (Sister Inman and Sister Wicker); for my mom who has helped me develop my relationship with Christ and my personal testimony of the restored gospel and ultimately help me become the young woman I am today; for my dad who took time to read the scriptures with me and show me what it means to care and listen; for my sister who loves me unconditionally and is an example to me of love and care; for the living prophet who receives revelation from God and helps us follow Christ in these times of confusion in the world; for the senior couple missionaries who are always watching out for us and supporting us; for my leaders throughout my time in Primary, Young Women’s, Seminary, and Relief Society who have helped me develop my love for feasting on the word of God; for my mission president and for all his counsel and support engaging in the work of the Lord. AND Jesus Christ — because HE IS THE REASON WE ARE HERE AND HAVE HOPE.

  1. Write 10 deceased people you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for Abinadi, Mary the mother of Jesus, Nephi, Moroni, Joseph Smith and his faith to ask God, Alma and the Sons of Mosiah with their examples of serving and loving their brethren.

  1. Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for the sun (and the light it brings into the world, an example of what Christ does in our lives), gardens (with the fruits and vegetables that nourish our bodies and help us have the energy to serve others), rain (like the blessings from heaven), for rainbows (that remind me of the covenant God made with His children in the past and the ones I have made with Him in the temple), for clouds (that give us protection from the burning heat), trees, blossoms, animals, rocks, and the wind. All things testify that there is a God! (Alma 30:41&44)

  1. Write 10 things about today you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for these few hours we have each Monday to write letters to my family; for the spirit which accompanies us, tutors us, and leads us in the work; for another day to serve the Lord and learn through His Spirit; for a new week to try again; for the time to study the scriptures each morning and be spiritually recharged; for the time to take a nap; and for the chance to work with pottery! And lots of others.

  1. Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for the temple; for the Utah Provo and Utah Orem missions (for it is here that I have grown closer to my Savior); for a free country to live in where we can worship God; for Jerusalem; for the home where we establish our foundation in Christ; for the chapel where we can participate of the sacrament and remember the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ; for the CCM (Mexico MTC) where I began my learning of Spanish.

  1. Write 10 modern inventions you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for airplanes, cars, telephones, my wrist watch (that helps me remember what day it is, what time, and the date), refrigerators, air conditioners, heaters, hospitals, the Internet, and satellite to broadcast General Conference.

  1. Write 10 foods you are grateful for. 

    We're eating a nutritious lunch.

    We’re eating a nutritious lunch.

I am grateful for chocolate, strawberries, coconut vanilla bean ice cream, green smoothies, stir fries, rice and beans, carrots, peanut butter, and almond milk.

  1. Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for. 

I am grateful for the Plan of Salvation, for the ability to repent through the Atonement, for the focus on the family, for the ability to pray and have a confirmation through the spirit of the truth, for … and a lot more.

This week we have seen so many miracles! Wednesday night we had our first 5 minute lesson! That was intense and absolutely awesome. We dropped by a the Gomez family and read Mosiah 15:1-4, 8 and testified of the power of the Atonement to heal, of the Sacrament, and the spirit the scriptures bring into our lives. The spirit was so strong, confirming the truth of our testimonies.

Thursday the rain came down in torrents (so much that our leaders called to make sure we were in a protected area), so we began our weekly planning. And you know what? That planning session was AWESOME! The spirit was there, leading and guiding us and bringing ideas to our minds on what we can do to help God’s children in this area come unto Him. We took a couple short mental breaks in-between to get up and walk around, which also helped us focus more during those times we planned. It made it more enjoyable and less stressful. We took notes on what we need to get done this next week, which helped calm me down. I also realized that we were planning for this next week, so we don’t have to get EVERYTHING done by Sunday that we were planning. That night we visited the Saldañas (recent converts) with Hermano Fernandez (a ward missionary) and reviewed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Felipe shared how after he was baptized baptism, his boss told him that there was something different about him — it was a new beginning for him. Hermano Fernandez shared his experience coming into the gospel and his testimony of the power of the Atonement. We testified of the power of the Atonement to heal.

That night we had an appointment with the M. family, but they weren’t there, so we went over to Alma A’s home. They forgot to pray to know if President Monson is a prophet, so we gave the suggestion that we could all do it right then and there. So we all got on our knees and prayed together. (It was the first time I have ever done something like that, and the spirit just took over.) After the prayer, we asked them how they felt. Alma’s niece told us that she felt warmth and peace inside. Two of Alma’s sons felt happy. We testified that that was the spirit they were feeling. We talked about Christ establishing His church on the earth (by using stacked cups), and when the apostasy happened and the Apostles were killed, we removed that cup from the pyramid and it collapsed. We then testified of Joseph Smith and the First Vision. Hermana Medrano and Hermana Alma shared their testimonies of receiving the answer through prayer that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We invited them to pray (just like we did a few minutes before) to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. We also gave them a Restoration pamphlet with the instructions on how to pray.

Our district before any transfers.

Our district before any transfers.

(Mi nombre es Hermana Billings, y soy originalmente de los cielos, pero vengo del San Antonio, Tejas.) — I think I’m getting known for the Hermana with firm handshakes and being from heaven….. Samsoncita. Haha.

Friday morning during our companionship study, Hermana Bonilla and I read the Book of Mormon– Hermana Bonilla in English and me in Spanish. Hermana Bonilla did AMAZING! And during our DTM later that morning, we did some role plays with the other sisters, and Hermana Bonilla testified in English! I was so proud of her! (Afterwards I jumped up and gave her a hug and everything. I was just a little excited.) Later that afternoon we finished our planning (with the spirit, you can gets lot done). That night we went to Costa Vida with a family for dinner. While we were there, we finally met Savannah with her family. (We haven’t been able to see her or visit her the entire time we’ve been here.) It wasn’t a coincidence that we went there and they were there that very day at that very time. Later that night we felt that we should go to our appointment early. We didn’t know why, but when we got there we prayed, and up walked up one of our new investigators and a little later a less active member! We got to talk with them, and afterwards invite another man to read the Book of Mormon. And after that, we were right there at the perfect time for our appointment (where we testified of Eternal families and the power of reading the Book of Mormon in our homes).

Saturday morning, we went to visit Alma’s family again. They forgot to pray about Joseph Smith, so we all knelt down together and prayed. Afterwards, we asked how they felt. Magaly told us that she felt a warm breeze. Hector (another one of Alma’s sons) felt peace. Ruben felt calm. Christian and Froylan felt good. We testified that those feelings were from God, confirming that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ did visit Joseph Smith and called him as a prophet. Hermana Alma shared how blessed she feels to have the priesthood in the earth and how her children can receive priesthood blessings when they are scared or sick and receive relief. Magaly told us she received a priesthood blessing. She was skeptical at first, but afterwards she felt like a new person. We testified of the Book of Mormon, and read Doctrine and Covenants 84:46-47 and the invitation in the introduction. We will text them to remind them about their commitments. We also invited them to church. Magaly said the closing prayer, and the spirit was so strong as she spoke. She was crying and felt very touched by the spirit she felt. We felt so much joy and happiness during that lesson.

That night we were scampering to find someone to come with us to a lesson, and one of the ward missionary couples came to our rescue! We tried visiting Rick (a referral we received), but he wasn’t there, but the family who lived there (former investigators) Silvia and Joel invited us in. After chatting for a while, we asked them what a prophet means to them and how a living prophet would help in this day and age. They talked about their experience walking through the temple. Hermano Munoz talked about why the temples are so beautiful and why we build them — especially so that families can be sealed. Hermana Munoz added her testimony of the temples. We asked them where they turn for answers of the truth, and they talked about how we can read the scriptures and pray to God. We testified of the Book of Mormon, how it is a record of their family in the Americas believing in Christ and preaching of Him. We read Moroni 10:3-5 and invited them to apply this prophetic promise by reading 3 Nephi 11 and praying to know if Jesus Christ truly did visit the Americas after His Resurrection. Later that night we felt like we should visit a family. And they were home! We read from the Book of Mormon with them and the Munoz family, and they committed themselves to come to church. And they came! 🙂

Sunday we saw more miracles. The Lord works miracles every day!

¡Cristo vive!

Hermana Billings

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