Week 24 in the Utah Orem Mission

Tuesday we saw MILAGROS!!! We had many cancelations, but the Lord wanted us to be where he was preparing his children, and we entered into three new homes! And they want us to come back. 🙂

Hna Kathleen and Mena at Alpine Tabernacle

Hermana Billings and Hermana Mena inside the gorgeous Alpine Tabernacle in American Fork, Utah, after a special stake conference meeting.

Tuesday morning, after a cancelation, we were impressed to go visit families we had set as backups. As we went to visit the first family on our list, we saw a mother outside raking leaves. We parked the car and offered our help, and for the next hour we helped rake and bag up the leaves. Afterwards, she invited us inside. We shared the video “A Savior is Born,” and they mentioned the blessing of peace and hope that Christ brings into their lives, especially with all the violence and confusion going on in the world. We talked about our purpose as missionaries, of the reality that Christ directs His church today through living prophets (and with all the things going on in the world, it makes it all the more important to have that guidance from living prophets), and of how our families can be eternal through the temple. They accepted our invitation to return, and she wants us to come when her whole family is there. …

Later on we went to visit another family. For the first 15 minutes we were stuck outside with a big playful puppy (mix of bulldog and pit bull) that kept pulling at our skirts, but after we and the daughter finally got control of the dog, we went inside. We shared the video “A Savior is Born” with their daughter. Her mother wants her daughter to come to know for herself which church is true, and they accepted our invitation to come back and teach her.

Chickens 2

Hermana Billings seems to enjoy all animals–even chickens. Perhaps there wasn’t a cat close by to photograph.

Wednesday night we felt impressed to drop by and visit a certain family, and they were home! They invited us in, and we talked about the Provo City Temple Open House, and they were excited to receive the invitation to come with us on a VIP tour early in January. Earlier in the week during my personal study, I was reading President Monson’s General Conference talk from April 2011 “The Holy Temple: A Light to the World,” and I thought of this family. We shared parts from that talk with them, and those parts touched their heart, and they want to set goals to go back to the temple. They have very tender feelings towards the temple, and we all are looking forward to the day when we can be in the Celestial Room with them. …

Rexburg Temple

Hermana Kathleen especially loves the Idaho Rexburg Temple.

Thursday morning we helped a family set up for the wedding of their daughter (I learned to tie a pretty bow on the back of chairs). 🙂 Later that evening we got to see one of our recent converts married. It was so exciting, and ever since then I’ve been thinking of the temple and how someday after the mission I will be sealed there and have my daddy-daughter dance at a reception. These thoughts made me cry thinking about how joyful that day will be for all of us. And then it made me think about how earnestly I desire that for these families here. The Temple truly brings power into our lives to help us keep moving forward. …

This weekend was stake conference, and in the adult session, Elder Fallabella spoke and did it in the form of asking the congregation questions — like a conversation. He asked us why we thought the First Presidency, the Apostles, and ultimately Christ are focusing so much right now in the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. We were in the back, but I raised my hand and said, “Keeping the Sabbath Day holy helps us keep all the other commandments.” He looked at me and responded, “How do you know that? That was in the training that we received as general authorities. Were you there?” I smiled, stood back up and said that I was a missionary and that we had received that training as well (through videos in our zone conferences). He thanked me and my companion for being there, and talked about how that is what President Nelson had said, and he testified that those words are true and come from a prophet of God. And then, with a smile, he said: “Now do you want to hear the real reason?” He talked about how the Lord is concerned that we are not sanctifying this day and the faith of His children is growing weak. The Lord is focusing the Church a lot about the Sabbath Day and how keeping it Holy will help strengthen our faith. Later on that evening Elder Fallabella shared with us a concept that absolutely blew my mind! He talked about the importance of self-reliance. He talked about staying out of debt, keeping food storage, and being spiritually self-reliant. He then asked us three questions: When was the last time we went to the temple? Why did we go? Did we think about how we were taking names to the temple? He said that we only go to the temple once for ourselves, and every time after that we take names to the temple and do it for them. If we take names that we have found ourselves to the temple, then we are self-reliant. If we go to the temple and expect to receive names there, we are not self-reliant. As I heard that, my jaw dropped (looked like genie in Disney’s Aladdin). He later talked about interviewing missionaries ready to leave the MTC and head out to their assigned missions. He said he asked them just one question: How was your experience in the MTC? He said that the majority say that is was the most spiritual experience they have had in their lives and that they learned so much about the gospel. He said that only one missionary said something different: that even though the experience was wonderful, he didn’t learn anything new at the MTC — everything he heard there he had already learned in his home. Elder Fallabella said that the MTC should be in our home, not in Provo.

Fishers of men. Our zone.

Here are some “fishers of men”–Hermana Billings’ new missionary zone.

Yesterday and today I am going through another moment of discouragement, but I know I’m not alone — God keeps sending His angels to lift me up (including those little kitties I keep finding everywhere — kitties are my sign from Heavenly Father that everything will be alright).

Beautiful tree -- the letters, first letters of children names

The letters on this Christmas tree represent the first letter of the family’s children. What a great idea!

This morning snow fell, and we have probably have a foot of snow outside. It’s beautifully serene and calm, and it’s continuing to fall. I was studying Ether 12, and I am learning the importance of being meek — humble, patient, and confident in the Lord, even when plans don’t go the way we set them. It’s hard to let go of the reins, but the Lord is slowly helping me — even though it hurts a lot — to let them go and rely more fully in Him.

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