Friday, February 27, 2015

Well here I am. 20 and Whatnot

Well happy birthday this week to my Sav. You are beautiful and I hope your wedded life is lovely. Your temple marriage was one of the highlights of my young life so thank you for inviting me to that. Also I miss playing the uke with you every night in St. George and our other adventures... *eyebrow waggle. I love love you! Send me your address so I can send you a birthday card, PLEASE! :) 

And happy baptism to Krew! Being baptized is the best thing you can do. I hope you have an excellent day. 

This week was so wonderful. I can't thank everyone enough for the love and support I felt during my birthday and valentines day. You are some wonderful people! Thank you for the birthday packages and for the letters. I hope you know how much they meant! 

I had a wonderful birthday week. Monday we spent emailing and shopping. We went bowling with the elders for a while and then went to do our laundry at the Shearer's house. We don't have a washer and dryer in our apartment and so usually we take our laundry on exchanges with us and do it that way. But we didn't have an exchange this week and so we needed somewhere to wash our clothes. Plus we'll take any excuse we can make to spend time with the Shearer's. So we played with them during our pday, and then we had a family home evening with them and talked about the atonement. It was wonderful. They're lovely people. Also, Tyler brought his hand cuffs and I cuff'd Sister Jones and that was awesome. Nothing more satisfying than locking your companion up. ;)
Tuesday was excellent, too. I got so many texts from so many wonderful people in the mission and from our ward. It's incredible to think I have so many people who love me. How did I get so spoiled!? :) I just want to thank everyone who took the time to send birthday wishes my way. I can't stop saying thank you!! :D
And for all of you who forgot... I hope you have fun in outer darkness!! 
(Just kidding, of course! Repentance is still real.) 
   The Clarksons were wonderful and took us out to eat for lunch on my birthday. love spending time. Then we got to do missionary work - my favorite thing!! We tried to pick up a new Spanish investigator, but they weren't interested. I love planting seeds!!  We tried a couple more people, but nothing worked out. We were able to teach one lesson with a Recent Convert. It went really well. She's so cool. She's almost been a member for a year now, and she's got her eyes set on the temple where her and her husband can get sealed. That will be amazing! 

After that, we headed back to the church building where we had dinner as a district. The elders threw me a surprise party! It was so nice. They got me a piggy bank because I love pigs and I snort when I laugh. There were also Twinkies which were delicious. I made them do a twinkie eating contest. It was hilarious. Sister Clarkson made curry and crepes. She's an angel. I love   spending time as a district. 

Then we had Book of Mormon class. There's something so powerful about getting together with a group of wonderful people and reading from the Book of Mormon and discussing it's teachings. The spirit is always so wonderful. 

Wednesday we had district meeting! We met at the church but were asked to leave because there was a gas leak and they were trying to get it fixed. Plus, the heather wasn't working so it was freezing anyway. So we had our meeting at the Clarkson's house. They do so much for us.
We learned about how to use the Book of Mormon to address concerns. It was a good training. Then we all had lunch together. Afterward, we were able to do a lot of area book work and to get things organized and straightened up. Book work is something I've never really been fond of, but I could see that it was taking a lot of stress off of Sister Jones' shoulders, and so we did that. We took a dinner break around 5:30 and then went to visit our ward missionary who has been really sick lately to see if there was anything we could do to help her. She's so upbeat about everything. She always wants to help out with the missionary work. 
We were also able to help the beehives get ready for new beginnings. We got to know some of the youth and helped them practice for the program. It was fun. I'm glad I'm not twelve anymore, though. :) 

Thursday was really awesome. We were able to visit some less actives that no one has seen for a while, and we were able to have some awesome lessons with them. The spirit was amazing. We were also able to go to the Shearer's house for dinner. Nothing better! Tyler decided to skip out to go to some concert, so we got to hang out with Momma and Poppa Shearer. We had a super good conversation. I love talking with them about the gospel. We had a lesson set up after dinner to do a family home evening with a member and our investigators, but the investigators had to cancel last minute. We ended up still going to the members house and having family home evening with them. They were able to help us be aware of some things some of the members are struggling with. Members are so crucial in the work! Also, she made us really delicious cheesecake and that was just a bonus! 

Friday we were able to weekly plan for the first time since I've come to this area. It helped me soooo much. I was so grateful that we finally got to do it. It was a little monotonous, though. So we had to split it up with a Sonic run during happy hour. Sister Jones loves her limeades. We also helped the elders with this project thing that they started. They call it "flamingoing" where you stick a lawn flamingo and some treats with a note on someone's front lawn and then doorbell ditch them. Then they pass the flamingo on to someone who they think needs some cheering up. So we did that with the elders. It was fun. We almost froze to death though.

Saturday it snowed like crazy. Luckily, we were still able to go to Fairview for our sisters' baptism. Three of their investigators got baptized. I don't know if any of you remember, but I actually was able to teach them the other week while we were on exchanges and we really just clicked. So I was so grateful to be there as they got baptized. I cried like a baby. We were also able to help in the program and sing the "As Sisters in Zion" and "Bring the World His Truth" Medley. The spirit was so strong. I feel like I say that all the time but it's always true. 
We drove back and the weather was so bad that we had to call a snow day. We hung out at the Clarksons. I taught Sister Jones how to do the cup song and so we're going to record something in the next couple of weeks. It should be good, so stay posted. 

Sunday was another snow day.  We were able to have sacrament meeting, but because of the weather and the low attendance, they cancelled the other meetings. So... we had studies and then the Shearer's came to pick us up. We spent the evening with them eating tacos and playing games and talking about which of their neighbors we could convert.
I feel like we spend more time at the Shearer's than we do at our own place. We love them so much. 

But as much as I love spending time with the Shearers, I really hope that it warms up soon. I'm sick of snow days. I just want to work hard! 

Well... that was our week this week. It looks like we'll have a pretty crazy week this week and next week. I'm taking over the area on my first exchange, and so I'm really nervous for that! It should be okay, though... I hope! 

I appreciate all the prayers and letters of support and encouragement from each of you. I need all I can get!! :) 

I love you all!! Have a great week. 

Hermana Bills


Monday, February 16, 2015

Some Clarity on Charity

Wow. The week of love. 

What a great week this has been for me to learn about love that lasts and love that doesn't last. I have been so grateful for this mission experience to help me learn about what TRUE love is.
True love is Charity. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Charity is loving others so much, that you are truly motivated by a sincere desire to serve them. Your thoughts become others-focused and you act accordingly. I have been blessed to see this powerfully in my companions and in members throughout the mission. I am working so that I can see it in myself. 
Charity lasts. 

Anyway. I had a great week. 
Monday, Sister Jones and I went out to buffalo wild wings for lunch and to take care of some weekly planning. Then we got a call from a recently reactivated member about coming to visit her. I just kind of had a really sick feeling about it. I told Sister Jones how I was feeling... but we didn't know what to tell her. So we just went over... 
It wasn't an uplifting experience. I don't really want to say more about it. But afterward, we were able to talk about it and it was such a positive moment to have open communication and talking about ideas that we could have done better or that we can change next time... I know I'm being very vauge about the situation and I apologize for that haha. But I just wanted to write about how grateful I've been all week long to have such open communication with my companion, because it's not always easy to have that with people - to be able to express how you both really feel in an open, constructive way. And I feel like this situation is where all of our communication really stemmed from. So that was cool. 
Moving on...

Tuesday a member family from Sister Jones' old area came to visit with her and to take us out to brunch. They were so nice and so kind to both of us. They brought me a birthday present, even though they'd never met me before in their lives. They were awesome! We were able to teach a couple of less active members and to find a potential weekly service activity so that was good. We reviewed our family feud game with the elders and the Clarksons and everything looked good. 
A member family took us out to eat at Hoss'. It's kind of like... the Pennsylvania version of chuck-a-rama, I guess you could say. It was fun. They were SUPER old and adorable and really nice. It was so fun to sit and listen to them tell stories. 
Then we had Book of Mormon class which was cool. I've never actually had a successful one of those before, but a lot of people came out. We were able to read from ether and moroni about Shiz and the destruction of the people and whatnot. We had an awesome discussion about that. Members are so cool. 

Wednesday we had an awesome team up with a member who decided that she wanted to be awesome and spend all day with the sister missionaries. Because she was so willing to help out, we were able to get so much work done. We saw a recent convert and met with two less actives. Then she took us out to lunch to top it all off! She was an angel in disguise, and so fun to spend time with. Members like that make missionary work SO much more enjoyable. We love Sister Howard! 
We had dinner at a members house that night and it was so funny because I forgot that Sister Jones had told me that one of the members is terrified of germs and everything. So we were thanking them for dinner and saying goodbye and I reached out to shake his hand, and he just nodded his head at me and then I remembered that he doesn't shake people's hands and my face went BRIGHT red and everyone started laughing with me and it was just so funny.
I was blushing for a good 20 minutes after that one. 
Blessed moments...

On Thursday we had a great exchange with the Sisters in Fairview. I was able to work in Fairview with Sister Aston. She's adorable! We had so much fun together. We went to their house in the early afternoon, and decided that we'd all just go to lunch together to discuss the exchange, since we all had to eat, and no one had any set appointments until one. First, we stopped by a chiropractors office. There's a member who owns it and he gives free adjustments to missionaries. It...was...AMAZING. I have missed going to the chiropractor so much. I love adjustments. He said that my back was one of the worst he'd ever seen in a sister, so I got extra special care and I felt like a newborn child when I left. It was definitely a highlight for me. 
Then we went to a Mexican restaurant. We found out that it was Sister Aston's year mark, so we got fried ice cream to celebrate :) 
Our exchange was awesome. We visited a less active who had this GIANT great dane that just came up and tried to sit on my lap. It was so funny. Then we did service for a nonmember who loves family history. We cut out obituaries from the newspapers and glued them onto note cards for filing at the family history center. She loves temple work, too. She always gets names for members to take to the temple. But she doesn't want to take the lessons? Someone explain that one to me...  She was so nice.
Then we had an awesome lesson with another less active. At first, we weren't getting a really good read on how to help her. But then Sister Aston started asking all these inspired questions, and the spirit was so strong. The member opened up and told us how her heart really wasn't in it. She knew she wasn't being humble or willing to accept the word and somehow we got on the topic of spiritual gifts and how she needs to figure out what hers are through faithful prayer and she just broke down crying and it was AWESOME! 
So that was a cool lesson. 
After that we headed to dinner but we were a little early so we tried to find a less active member who supposedly lived nearby. We found the mailbox out on the side of the road but there wasn't a house to go with the mailbox so we were really confused. We parked the car and started walking around looking for it. Then we realized that it was 9 degrees outside and walking around was really cold so we started RUNNING around this neighborhood... we probably looked crazy.
We didn't even find the guy. 
But the members were awesome. They were your typical back woods Pennsylvanians. They shared their conversion story and we shared a spiritual thought. It was awesome. 
Then we had my favorite lesson of the day with Renee and John and Reece. They are getting baptized this saturday, actually. But they were just so attentive and listened so well and really thought about the questions we asked. It was an awesome lesson. By the end, Renee was telling me, "you should leave Gettysburg and come live in Fairview." haha it was so sweet! So Sister Jones and I are going to do all that we can to make it to their baptism this Saturday
After that, we had a quick visit with an elderly member who let me ride around her apartment in her electric wheelchair. It was better than Herhsey Park.

Friday we exchanged back at Zone training. I was happy to be with Sister Jones again. :) We had a good training. Sister Johnson trained on the parable of the sower. President Johnson said some words on how safety trumps all. The zone leaders taught about "Teaching the Savior's Way" and we were able to help out in teaching that. I was nervous but it ended up okay, I think. 
After training, we headed home with the Clarksons to set up for Family Feud. Then President Johnson took us out to dinner with him, his wife, and the Clarksons. It was so fun. He's the best mission president in the whole world.
After dinner, we all went to Family Feud. It was a great turnout, and I think people had a lot of fun! 

I feel like I always start these emails so gung-ho to tell everyone about my week... and then I just start fizzling off. I really do have fun as a missionary, I swear. 

Saturday there was a wedding at the church. We set up for that and helped get everything ready and go smoothly. It was kind of fun spending valentines day at a wedding. It was also cool just knowing that hopefully some day that couple will make it to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. 
The highlight of the wedding was line dancing to boot scootin boogie with Sister Jones and all the little kiddies. We were laughing so hard. 
We had to leave the wedding a little early because we had dinner and a lesson with our AWESOME investigators Don and Teri. They made birthday dinner for me and birthday dessert, too. They even got me a birthday card. It was the sweetest thing of all time. They are miracles. Teri is a fantastic cook. She made me SKOR BAR CAKE. MOM, did you hear that? It was the best. 
We had a lesson with them and talked about prophets. I always have a hard time in our lessons with them, because I don't really feel like they're my investigators, you know what I mean? I feel like they're still Sister Jones and Sister Peterson's investigators, not Sister Jones and Sister Bills' investigators. I don't know why I feel that way. So during our lesson on Saturday I made an extra effort to try and help them and to speak up and answer questions and whatnot. I felt a little better, but not much. I love Don and Teri. I just don't feel like I'm helping them at all by being there. It's a pride thing and I know it. So on the way home from our lesson, I voiced my thoughts and concerns with my companion. She was able to help me so much. We were then able to talk about other things that had been on both of our minds all week. I can't express enough how wonderful of a blessing it is to have a companion that you can just be so candid with and still have it be a positive experience. 
I love Sister Jones. 

Sunday was so fun. It was kind of a bummer. Because the weather has been so cold and the roads were so icy, they cancelled church and so we had a snow day. So I was just bummed out all day because I couldn't renew my baptismal covenants. But it turned out to be pretty fun. We were sitting there, eating chocolate cake for breakfast, and a member family decided to brave the weather and come pick us up so we could spend the day at their house. They are like our family out here, seriously - the Shearer's. We love them. We're actually going over tonight for a family home evening with them. But anyway. We spent all day yesterday with them. Laughing and playing games and watching 17 miracles and playing the ukulele and telling stories. It was so wonderful. They make my life perfect. 
So the snow day ended up being a blessing. 

Today should be awesome, too! We'll be going bowling to celebrate my birthday. I love my district.

But anyway! I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to be 20 tomorrow!! I can't believe that I've been alive for so long. 
Thanks everyone for all of the birthday wishes and support. I love you all!! 

The Lord lives. 

Hermana Bills 

Ps. I still have pictures from like 4 weeks ago that I need to send out. Sorry for the delay ;)

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Craziest Week of My Whole Mission to Date

Wow I just need to take five seconds to try to breathe right now. I'm not even sure what just happened last week. But it felt like the longest and shortest week of my whole mission at the same time. 

Allow me to expound. 

Monday we had Pday, as you're all aware. We went on a lame tour of a potato chip factory and then went to chick-fil-a for lunch as a district. We managed to complete some shopping and cleaning before heading to Carlisle for my very first exchange as an STL. 
Tuesday I spent the day with Sister Amendola in Carlisle. Sleep over! It was so fun. She's such an awesome sister. We were able to do service at like a food pantry thing or whatever and then we taught a lesson later that day with a less active member. He was really struggling with why bad people get away with doing bad things to good people. So we talked a bit about that with him. 
Sister Amendola is a winner at being very healthy. She cooked me a fillet of fish and tossed a bed of spinach together with some broccoli and we enjoyed that meal together. I was so impressed with her cooking skills. She is lovely. We parted ways as good friends. I adore her.
Although I had a good time in Carlisle, I was happy to be back in Gettysburg with Sister Jones. When we got back from Carlisle, we had dinner with a member, went to a mutual activity, and had ward correlation for Gettysburg ward. It was... so funny. It just had been such a long day and we kept laughing at each other because Sister Jones was being distracting and making dumb faces! The elders kept asking if we were okay. Haha... it was a funny night. You had to be there ;) 
Wednesday was nice. We had district meeting with all of the elders. That was nice. We were able to see a couple people before going to dinner at our Bishop's house (the Bishop for Gettysburg ward). This was such a cool night for me. They had both us and the elders over for dinner and a family home evening. Dinner was delicious. We talked about life and our families and how the Book of Mormon has blessed our lives. The spirit was so strong. And it was a dinner conversation!? After dinner, we went into the living room and read a chapter out of the book of mormon together. We took turns reading verses and... it was just... it was just really cool to sit there on the floor of our bishops home with his family and the elders and to think "Some day, this will be my family having the missionaries over for dinner, reading out of the Book of Mormon." The spirit was crazy strong. Their home was seriously like a temple. It was so wonderful. It made such a powerful impression on  me. 
Being a missionary is seriously amazing because you get little bits and pieces of what you would like your family to be like just by spending so much time with the member families in your respective wards. It's something that I've been so grateful to see. I can just take different values and habits and traditions that I like from each family and integrate them into my future home. :) What a blessing that I get to see and learn so much from these faithful members. 
Thursday was a whirlwind. We Had to be in Chambersburg by 1 to meet up with the Zone Leaders to drive to Pittsburgh for MLC (mission leadership council). So we had studies in the morning and then got lunch really quickly on the way to our lesson with our investigators in Hanover. We had a member come out with us to teach and it went really well. We talked about baptism and keeping the Sabbath day holy. Brady talked about how he'd been keeping his committment to pray daily and how he'd gotten a call about possibly getting a new job that would allow him to have Sundays off so he can come to church! It was such a miracle. 
After our lesson, we hurried off to Chambersburg, hopped in the zone leaders car with all of our stuff and headed out for Pittsburgh. It was a long drive (about 4 hours) but we managed to make it. When we got there I had to go to the bathroom SOOO bad but we stopped at the lookout to see the view of Pitt at night. It was lovely.
But then I made the elders stop at this ghetto McDonalds and it was sketchy beyond belief. I love Pittsburgh. We strolled around downtown for a while. Everything was closed, but it was just cool to see the city. Then we got to meet up with Elder George (my old district leader) and his companion!! We all went to dinner at a super yummy pizza place. It was so fun!! 
We spent the night with the Pitt 3rd sisters and slept on their couches.
Friday was MLC. It is just this big meeting that all the STL's and Zone Leaders get together for with President Johnson and the AP's and we all talk about what's happening in the mission and how things can be better, and then we talk about what zone training is going to be on and when it's going to be. Then we eat lunch together... talk a little more... 
It was a really good meeting. Just super long. Also I kind of felt like I didn't belong there, really. Because here you've got all these super smart, awesome, experienced missionaries who know what they're doing and there there's sweet little Sister Bills who can't even say the opening prayer with out shaking... But President helped me feel better, and it was good to see two other missionaries there who came out at the same time as me - Elder Miller and Elder Garduno. So that made me feel a little bit better. :) 
After MLC, we got supplies for our zone from the mission office and then headed back out east. We stopped to fill up for gas and then Elder Guerrero realized that he couldn't find the SD card with ALL of his mission pictures. We looked for a while but couldn't find it. We knew we had to keep driving so we said a quick prayer that it would turn up, and kept on keeping on. We stopped at Chickfila for dinner and some people saw us praying over our food and came up to thank us. That was pretty cool :)
We got home from Pittsburgh around 11:30ish. It was a late night. 
Saturday we took an early Pday. The best pday of my life. We still had to wake up around 5:30 (extra early) because the Shearer family was coming over to take us to DC to do a session in the temple, so we were pretty tired. But it's not hard to wake up really quick when you're with the Shearer family. They're so funny. You feel right at home with them. 
We did the 9:00 session in DC. It was wonderful. I felt so spiritually fed. It was so lovely. The most incredible thing was as we were all praying for the missionaries and I realized, powerfully, that we receive SO many prayers every day all over the world. And that was so cool.
I cried like a baby. 
But yes. The temple was gorgeous. Wish I could say more but... you know how that goes ;) 
After being so spiritually fed, we managed to talk the Shearer's into stopping at Cafe Rio for lunch. It was literally the best thing ever. I haven't had that sweet ambrosia for over 7 months now. I never knew anything could taste so good. Tyler Shearer thought that it was decent and that Chipotle was better. I was so disappointed in him. ;) 
Then we headed back within mission boundaries. On the way back, we stopped by a llama farm and I thought I was in heaven. We hung out at the Shearer house and played pass the pigs and sang along to Tyler playing his guitar. Brother Shearer seriously reminds me so much of my dad it's hilarious. 
After hanging out with the Shearer's all day, we met up with the Clarksons for dinner and a lesson and Don and Teri's house (they're our investigators. They're awesome.) It was such a good lesson. I was just so spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically drained from the whole week that I broke down into tears half way through the lesson. It was embarrassing. I just wanted to help them understand the need for an apostasy but couldn't find the right words to say to help them. I kept thinking about how wonderful the temple was and how badly I wanted Don and Teri to feel of the wonderful spirit in the temple but I couldn't explain to them how important Joseph Smith is and how he truly IS a prophet. So I just started crying. Haha it was pathetic. 
So after that we went home to recuperate. It was such an excellent day for both Sister Jones and I, but also hard in a lot of ways. I guess you could say the same thing about our whole week, really. So we just needed to regroup a little bit.
So Sunday was awesome for that reason. Teri was able to come to church for ward conference and she got some great face time with our stake president. She was even able to help out a less active member who was struggling to feel that she had been forgiven. She bore powerful testimony of the atonement. It was a great experience. Being able to partake of the sacrament and to recommit to do better this week was spiritually charging. I felt so much better after sacrament meeting. Having just attended the temple, I felt like I got so much more out of each class that we attended. It was lovely. 
After church, we did some more regrouping - finally sitting down to really plan and set goals for the upcoming week. That helped both of us feel like we had our hats on again. It was much needed. We had dinner with the Burton's. Their home is so like a temple as well. We listened to mormon tabernacle choir and ate Pennsylvania Dutch food. It was really good. Then we played a game with the articles of faith to earn our dessert. We were laughing so hard. I had so much fun. Then we were able to come home and have some studies before going to bed. Right before we were finishing up for the evening and finally feeling like we had a handle on things, we got a call from President Johnson. 
Him and Sister Johnson are coming out east for Zone Training on Friday and "we're just wondering if Sister Jones and Sister Bills would like to come out to dinner with us and the Clarksons, and then hopefully we can work in your area with you for a little bit afterward?" 
President and Sister Johnson want to come see investigators and less actives with US?
What is this!?
So we had a mini panic attack before realizing that Friday night was our missionary activity. We're throwing a Family Feud game night with both the Gettysburg and Hanover wards. So we told them about that. 
Wanna know what President Johnson said? 
"Oh! That's fine! We'll just come to that with you then."

So now our mission president is coming to our missionary activity and we're kind of losing our minds again...

It's a beautiful ride. 

Hermana Bills 

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Think I Found the Promised Land. . .

(I'm sorry if I repeat anything! I'm just so scatterbrained today!) 

Well Ladies and Gents! I made it to Gettysburg PA safe and sound. It has been quite the trip these past couple of days but I can honestly say that I'm so stoked to be serving here. 

Let me start with some shoutouts and then I'll move on to some fun facts about my new area. :) 

First off I have to shoutout to McKell becasue I'm the worst stepdaughter ever and I forgot about your birthday last week. I know it was transfers and everything but that's no excuse! Happy birthday to you. I hope you had a great birthday and that Andruw got you a coach bag and that dad took you out somewhere yummy for dinner :) You're the best stepmom ever and I'm so blessed to have you as part of my life. Thank you for all that you do for me. :) 

Shoutout to Sister Mellow for going into surgery this week. You're so brave and I hope that you'll get feeling better really soon. :) I still miss you! 


So basically Gettysburg is awesome. Technically we are the "Gettysburg East Sister Training Leaders". But we don't actually live in Gettysburg, we live in this little place called McSherrystown. It's like a little Irish village or something. The town over is called Irishtown. So I am excited to spend St. Patty's day here. Maybe these people will really know how to celebrate. 

We're right in the heart of a lot of American History sites and so it's cool to be a part of that. I'm so grateful for this country that we live in, and I'm excited to serve around where it was fought for and founded. It will be quite the experience. We got to drive past some of the Revolutionary War battlefields the other day and I just got chills all over. It was such a sacred moment. I love it out here.

Our area is ginormous. We are the only area in the Pittsburgh Mission that covers two wards, and so it's a little crazy trying to get to know everyone. It will be a challenge to learn everyone's names. Sunday was interesting because we're trying to attend two wards that overlap one another. There's not really any time to rest. It was fun, though. The ward members are so sweet and really reached out to me and helped me feel welcome. I was feeling a bit under the weather. This area is really busy and so it's just go go go all of the time. A lot of the time we will have both lunch and dinner appointments. I don't know if I'm going to be a very good pen pal these next couple of months so I apologize ahead of time. But I still love each of you and appreciate letters of encouragement. I also just like to hear what you are all up to and how you're doing. You mean everything to me!! 

Our district is really fun. We have two sets of elders, us and then the Clarkson's - the senior couple from England. 
I. Love. Them.
They are my heroes.
Honestly my biggest fear for serving in Gettysburg is that the Clarkson's won't like me as much as I like them. They're fantastic people. They have the best accents. They're such hard workers. They're always making me laugh. 
I love them.

The other best part about serving here is my companion. She is literally an angel. She glows so much. She's like... as bright as the St. George temple when the sun is out. She is the most dedicated missionary I've ever met. She sets such an incredible example for me. I don't know how I will ever live up to the missionary that she is. I'm in awe of how much she knows and how much she does. She's so spiritually in tune and always on the ball. 
I am going to have such a good time serving here. 

We're going on my first official exchange as an STL tonight and I'm a little bit nervous. But Sister Jones has confidence in me and so I'm sure it will be alright. 

Our apartment is really cute. We just moved into it a few weeks before I got here, so it's still kind of... in the works. But we'll give it some TLC and it will be great :) I'm excited to be here. 

The wards that we serve in are awesome. Gettysburg ward and Hannover ward. The members are incredible. We literally already have a meal for every day of the upcoming transfer, and several days of the coming transfer are already filled as well. We have people feeding us lunches and bringing us groceries and giving us money and helping us out... They're angels. I seriously love them.

Tons of stuff happened this week. My first week out in this area and we had two funerals. It was so interesting to see the difference between the two funerals based on the knowledge the people had of the gospel. I am so grateful to know that death is not the end of this life. 
We're teaching some of the best people I've ever met. People are progressing so well... studying the scriptures, coming to church... it's awesome! I am endlessly blessed. 

One particularly exciting story happened Thursday evening on our way to dinner at a members house. We were riding with the Hannover elders and it was snowing lightly. We didn't think it'd be a problem. (I've been driving around because Sister Jones' wallet is in Pittsburgh at the moment). But as we kept going, the snow kept picking up. We were about 3 minutes from the Shearer's house when we hit a hill and I was trying to zigzag up the hill and we were making pretty decent progress until we weren't anymore... so Sister Jones hopped out with the elders and they all started pushing from behind. We were all laughing so hard. We finally made it to their house safe and sound. We waited for the snow plows to come before we headed back out, though. So we played guitar and ate pizza and watched the Joseph Smith film and played pass the pigs and laughed... it was awesome. Brother Shearer reminds me SO much of dad. It was funny. Made me a little homesick, though. 

I'm having such a great time out here. I can't even begin to tell you about the miracles and blessings I've received just being here for 6 days. I'm so happy to be here. 

It's a little bit stressful, I'm not going to lie. Juggling all of the new blessings the Lord has given me. Two wards, a leadership calling, a giant area... I did end up making myself sick just trying to learn everything and feel like I was keeping up. The Clarkson's were so sweet this morning. They had us all over for breakfast this morning and they gave me a blessing and then headed out to the store to get some medicine for me and just... they're just so nice. My companion and I are working on being less stressed and not being so self-critical. :) It's going to be a good transfer.

I appreciate (more than you can all know) The love and prayers and support that I receive from all of you. Thank you for your letters, your emails, and your friendship and love. Heaven knows I need it. 

This work matters. I love being a part of it. 

Well... I hope I remembered all of the things that I wanted to write about. I'm a little homesick for Lebanon and Hermana Landa, but I really am so excited to be here. :) 

Hermana Bills 

PS - I'll try and send some pictures really soon!