Monday, August 31, 2015

This Week Though

I feel like the last time I wrote was like a lifetime ago. Something pretty big happened this week.... Something monumental. Never before seen in this mission...

We have been called as the assistants to the assistants.

Yeah. 
It's pretty legit. We're kind of a really big deal. People are coming to do a photo shoot and we're going to a have a whole segment written about us on LDS.org and a second missionary apartment in bora-bora with a private jet and unlimited free salads at cafe rio and it has just been such a blessing but also a huge responsibility to have this new assignment... I'm just asking that everyone pray for us because this is so huge.

Hahahahahahahahaha oh my gosh no I am just kidding. But seriously we have been joking about this all week. It started last Monday when we were trying to figure out the transfers, and the assistants - Elder Birrell and Elder Gates (we are like best friends) - Skype'd us to talk about logistics or something, and we were asking them to show us the transfer boards and he showed them to us super fast and we got really excited but we didn't actually see anything that was worthwhile... So that was disappointing. 

Anyway. The joke started about us being their assistants somehow, and it has just escalated ever since. We know have like a good portion of the missionaries in the mission backing us up and saying that we are the assistants to the assistants and it is SO funny. President Johnson even called us the other day just to check up! 
"I just wanted to know how the assistants to the assistants were doing."
Like he seriously had NO purpose for his phone call, just to laugh about us being the assistants to the assistants. 

But... yeah. this probably won't even be funny to anyone but me. But it has seriously escalated from us joking about being in charge of transfers to saying that like we'll be speaking in General Conference and hahahaha the apartment in Bora-Bora was probably the highlight... we are always just joking and laughing about the glamorous life of assistants to the assistants. It has been so fun. 
Fun fact, though! The assistants actually gave us an assignment to find people to do musical numbers for zone conferences. 
So we're pretty excited. 

Okay but for real this week has been amazing. Sister Canseco is our new companion and she has been the absolute most chill, amazing, easiest person to get along with in the entire world. I love her. She is from California and she's a native Spanish speaker.

There is a guy sitting next to me drinking fanta and reading a book and listening to smooth jazz and dancing and he is fantastic, I think I'm going to invite him to get baptized....
There is no way he's getting anything out of that book he's reading.... 

Back to business.

We have loved working in the walk area this past week. It is so fun. We're meeting some of the coolest people. We talked with each other as a tripanionship about how important it is to follow our promptings, and we're getting a lot better at recognizing and following our promptings and we have seen some really cool things come from it! We are being really blessed. 

One of the miracles that happened this week... we had a prompting to go visit this less active sister who, the last time we went to visit her, she told us she wanted her name removed from the records of the church and everything, and we were so sad. But we volunteered to help her paint her house, and the members have just kept reaching out to her. And it was so amazing, she has changed so much! She wanted to download the gospel library onto her phone and she was willing to sit down and have a lesson with us and... honestly it was just the biggest miracle. She is so cool!! We're going to see hertomorrow morning and help her finish painting! The elders are going to start working with her.

OH YEAH! There's another thing! We have another set of elders here in Lancaster - that's 7 missionaries serving in this branch! That is a TON of missionaries! 
AND FURTHERMORE, we now have 11 missionaries in our district and so we have a mega district! There is only one other district in the mission that has more missionaries than we have and they have two senior couples so if we're just talking like young, full-time missionaries we have the biggest district in the whole mission and it. is. a. party. every. dang. day. 
I love this. 
We were so mad stressed out that our district was going to get split and we were going to be really sad but we are all still together just +3 more! 
It's fantastic! 
District meeting was insane, we had to bring in one of the big tables from the gym cause we didn't fit around the table in the relief society room haha.

Anyway. Other than that... nothing really happened this week. Transfer meeting on Tuesday was really fun. President Johnson decided that he wanted transfer meeting to be done via skype but it ended up not working out very well because right as he decided to announce the transfer board, the video and sound cut out so we didn't even know what was happening and the Zone Leaders ended up having to announce them. But at least we got to hear the introduction. President talked about how an "inspired companionship" isn't always one that just clicks right away. Sometimes it's the ones that take a little more work. I really liked that. 
Another thing that changed... after transfer meeting, we used to go work in someone else's area for the day, but they decided to stop doing that. So we just hung out at the chapel and waited for for 5 hours for people to show up from Pittsburgh. So that was... fun. I love spending time with missionaries. 

We are going to be seeing the missionaries so many times this transfer! We have a member of the 70 coming to visit the mission so we'll have a big meeting for that, and then we have a zone conference, and then there are two missionary firesides! It's going to be way awesome! 

Also, since our district is so big, we started doing pday eve sleepovers which has been legit. The sisters come to stay at our apartment and we watch like 17 miracles or ephraims rescue or the testaments and eat popcorn and then in the morning we make waffles and study the scriptures together. It's a blast. Then we all have pday together! 

This is seriously the funnest time of my life. I love everything about this area - walking, riding the bus, going to subway cause we don't have any dinner appointments and having my companion spill her ice water all over me, this #MEGADISTRICT, our beautiful apartment, the incredible members of this branch...

I don't know. I have felt so close to the spirit lately. Yesterday in sacrament meeting I just felt such a strong love for the people that I have met on my mission, and the people that I have in my life. I have really started to understand the way Heavenly Father feels about us, and the love that he has for us... obviously it's just a small portion of the love that he has that he allows us to feel. I am so grateful for my Savior and how he comforts me and helps me to feel so loved and blessed. 

I hope each of you feel the joy that the gospel brings and openly share it with others.

I love you! I would write more but my district is nagging me to go. 

#BLANDIS is on exchange starting tonight.
#blandis is go

Love, 
Hermana Bills 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Three's a Crowd

This week. 
Cake?
Wow. 

I just do not know where to begin. 
Let me think... 

AH, I found a good place. 
This week was insane. On Wednesday we got a phone call from President Johnson, indicating that WE ARE IN FACT GOING TO THE WALK AREA. So that was much rejoicing had in the land. 
Beside the rejoicing, there was also much cleaning and packing and moving had in the land. Which I hate moving so that was really stressful. Our new apartment is on the third floor of this old building so that was fun carrying loads and loads of furniture and things up those stairs. Doesn't get much funner than that, my friends!! 
Khloee
BUT! The apartment is suuuper nice and recently refurbished and I feel like I'm living in some sort of bachelors pad or something. Like it's a dang nice apartment so we were pretty spoiled. 
However, something was slightly different in this apartment than in any other missionary apartment I have previously lived in... 
This apartment had...
3 tables
and 3 beds. 

YOU GUYS.
WE ARE GOING TO BE IN A TRIO.

I have had like 12,007 mini panic attacks. 

I do not know how to do missionary work in a trio...

SO I need your help! All of you returned missionaries that served in trios or know people who have served in trios that were good and that worked out really well, I NEED TIPS! 
INFORMATION PRECEDES REVELATION, FOLKS. 
So if you guys could help me out with that this week, I would sincerely appreciate it. 

PS - you guys were the best this week. I got so many wonderful and kind emails all throughout the week that made me feel like the most incredibly loved person on the entire planet earth. So thank you for that. I love you all. 

But anyway! So at first the idea of a trio was a little bit alarming. But when we thought it through, we realized that it had to be Hermana Landa coming! (Since there are only 7 Hermanas in the mission - Me and Hermana Davis, Hermana Sears and Hermana Busath are in the middle of training, Hermana Blackwell is an STL, and Landa and Hermana Smith just got done training so Hermana Smith was going to train a new missionary) And we got really excited. Because I have been wanting to serve with Hermana Landa since the moment I left Lebanon 7 months ago. So we got really excited and we smooshed our three last names together and called ourselves #blandis and that was suuuper trending (in our minds) for like a whole two days until Saturday night came and President Johnson called Hermana Landa and told her that she was going to be a Sister Training Leader and we were really sad because that means that #blandis is officially dead. Along with all of my dreams. 
So then we were really unamused so I grabbed the phone and texted President Johnson "that was not funny." because he knew that we had thought Hermana Landa was coming to Lancaster all along and he just let us believe it. Cause even before we moved into the new apartment we had a feeling that we were going to be in a trio because of something the assistants said to us on the phone... So anyway President texted us back saying that we are going to love our new companion and she is going to make a big contribution to the area and all this stuff and I answered back with, "We love you, President Johnson. But that was still not funny." So then he called us and talked to us on the phone for like 20 minutes but half of the time he couldn't even talk because he was laughing so hard saying that he knew that we thought Hermana Landa was coming and how funny he thought he was... We were just so done with his attitude. 
Well anyway we eventually hung up the phone with him and the next day in the middle of our lunch hour he texts us, "Is is funny yet?" 
That wily old man.
He thinks he's so clever...
So we replied with, "Yes, President. We haven't stopped laughing. You're hilarious." 

Then I called him this morning to ask him about whether or not I could get permission to start applying for college and all dat fun stuff and he answered the phone, literally, didn't even say hello, just answered by saying, "Is it funny, NOW?" hahahaha
That guy. 
He told me, "Are we on speaking terms? No. You're just like my children. They only talk to me when they want something." hahaha
But anyway. Aside from all the bullying coming from our mission president, we actually were really really sad that Hermana Landa is not going to be here with us. 
Another super sad thing that I found out (and who knows if this will mean anything to anyone but it was really really hard for me) is that Lebanon is being closed for sisters. I cried for like 20 minutes. Not only because Lebanon is really near and dear to my heart as the place where I was born into this mission life, but also because there are only 2 Spanish areas for sisters in the entire mission, and now there is only one, and it's this branch. 
It's just so hard. I remember the struggle while I was in Hanover and I only taught 2 Spanish lessons my whole 4 months there and I always wondered, "Why in the world was I called Spanish speaking to Pennsylvania. Who ever uses their Spanish in PA?" But serving in Lebanon and in Lancaster have been amazing. I have truly been able to magnify my calling. That means everything to me. I mean, I know that we do missionary work all the time in English as well, and it's just as important. But you just wonder why you got YOUR call, you know what I mean? And now there are 7 Hermanas and only 1 area that they could possibly serve in and so I just know that not all of them are going to have the opportunity and it breaks my heart. 
But also because... gah. It's Lebanon! That's my home!! ðŸ˜©

Well anyway. There's nothing we can really do about it. 

So I was seeking comfort from the Lord last night and this morning through my prayers and the scriptures and something just stuck out to me... I read several chapters in Mosiah this morning and I couldn't help but notice the difference between the people of Limhi and the people of Alma. Both were in bondage, both ended up looking to the Lord and being free from bondage and got their happy ending and were strengthened and ended up better people because of their trials. But something was different. 
Limhi and his people were subject to the Lamanites because of their personal wickedness in turning away from the Lord and not keeping His commandments.
But Alma and His people were taken into bondage for a different reason. As it says in the book of Mosiah, 23rd chapter, 21st verse, sometimes, "the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith." 

I just really needed that this morning. It reminded me that there are three different kinds of trials that we go through in this life
1- trials because of our own poor choices
2- trials because of the poor choices of others
3- trials from the Lord because he knows we are prepared to grow

I love that we have a God who works that way. Who trusts us to go through trials and troubles and afflictions and things that scare us because he wants us to rely on him and he wants us to grow. 
I know that my Heavenly Father adores each and every one of us, and that His plan is for us to become like Him some day. If we just have faith in the things that He asks us to do, everything will work together for our good. I know it. Just like in D&C 121 when the Lord is comforting Joseph Smith - these things will only be a small moment, and if we can endure them well, we will be exalted. We will receive more blessing than we could ever imagine. That will be an incredible day. 
I know it's something small that I'm going through right now. But if it's important to me, it's important to Him. And that applies to each one of you. It doesn't matter what trial or tribulation you're going through, it matters to Him. But it's important to identify what kind of trial we're going through. 
If our trials are because of our own poor choices, we can repent.
If our trials are because of the poor choices of others, we can forgive.
and if our trials are because the Lord is ready to help us grown, we can be faithful and trust that He will take care of us.

He loves us incredibly. I know it. I hope that you all know it. 
I love you, too :) 

Love, Hermana Bills
  

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Fruit of My Vineyard

Hey guys! 

So the title of my email this week comes from Jacob 5, I was studying this chapter of scripture in my personal study this morning and it really spoke to me. I love the story in Jacob 5, even though I know that I don't fully understand the significance of everything that's being said. But anyway, verse 75 stuck out to me this morning specifically. I just want to share one excerpt with you, 
"And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold he shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard."

This week has been amazing! 

Saturday Jorge was able to get baptized. The spirit was so strong and we had tons of members from the branch come to show their support. Jorge was so happy, and at the end of the service, he was able to stand and give his testimony... Honestly if you'd heard that testimony you would probably think that this guy had been a member all his life. He talked about his gratitude toward Joseph Smith and how grateful he was for a living prophet Thomas S. Monson, and how he loved the Book of Mormon, and even though he had yet to finish it all the way, he knows that the things he is reading are true. Then he shared one of his favorite passages of scripture with all of us and it just blew me away. 
What he shared is found in 2 Nephi 25:16-17 and it says: 

"And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind--and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things.

And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men."

That was the most incredible thing! To hear our investigator reading those words and bearing his testimony of the restoration of the gospel!! 
So anyway. Other than the fact that we just baptized the next prophet.... The baptism was pretty normal :) his confirmation was really cool. We were small numbers this week in sacrament meeting - only about 27 people. So pretty much the whole congregation stood up to confirm him ;) hahaha just kidding. 
But when he came to sit back down he had the BIGGEST smile on his face and he just looked like the happiest person in the entire world. He said his heart was beating so hard and he just felt this warmth and joy, and I knew that he had really felt it! That he really had received the Holy Ghost. 
Out of all of the amazing and prepared investigators that I have found and taught and baptized... Jorge Salas has got to be the one who gets it the most. At times I'm pretty sure that he gets it even more than I do... And I've been a member of this church my whole life! Explain that!?
Anyway. Hopefully next week Jorge will get the priesthood and be able to start helping with passing and eventually blessing the sacrament. That will be an amazing opportunity for him. 
The only thing that breaks my heart is that Diana decided not to be baptized. Not only does she not want to get baptized, but she also decided to just keep going to her other church. I was completely devastated... And completely baffled! The week before she had just been telling us over and over "I am SO sure I want to be baptized into this church." And we just don't know what happened! :( we just hope that she was able to feel the spirit at the baptism and that the Lord will continue to look after her and continue preparing her to accept the gospel. She's got Jorge, though, so we're not too worried. 
But ALSO we just found out that Jorge is probably going back to Ecuador for a couple of months to work and save up some money. He will be leaving mid September. 
The first counselor in our branch presidency is also leaving mid September to move to Florida. 
AND our branch mission leader leaves for Utah to go to college... 
Not the three people going home!
So someone please explain to me how we are ever supposed to build this branch up and help it grow if we baptize one person and three people leave!? 

Well that's exactly what we have been thinking about, and the Lord gave us this great idea to do a 40 day fast for missionary work and opportunities. So we explained the idea a couple of weeks ago to the branch council and the idea was implemented and everything is set to begin on September 6
So what the 40 day fast is, is that each day for 40 days, a member of the branch signs up to fast for missionary work and for opportunities to share to gospel and things like that. Or if they have people in their lives that aren't members or are less active or something like that, then they fast for their hearts to be softened or whatever. 
So every day for 40 days there is at least one designated member of the congregation fasting for missionary work. 
We sent around the sign up sheet on our side of he branch yesterday and already over half of the slots are filled! We couldn't believe it! 
Next week it will be passed around the York side of the branch, and hopefully all of the slots will get filled!! 
This branch is so amazing. We really think that this idea will help the work take off as the members become more aware and as we become more unified through this fast. 

Meanwhile we're just trying to do our best to move forward with the work! It's been really amazing! We have been praying so fervently to know what the Lord's will is for this area and to follow his direction in the work. The past couple of weeks we have just felt so strongly that He's been telling us to focus on working with the ward members and the less active or part member families. We have been a little bit confused because we also need to be getting baptisms if we want this branch to stay open, but we knew that it's what the Lord wanted so we just decided to go with it! And we have had some amazing blessings! 
The other day we were going over to visit with a less active sister that really seems like she's ready to be reactivated. We had an awesome lesson with her and then felt prompted to ask if she had anyone that we could share our message with, and right away she brought up her neighbor who just moved in from another country! We got super excited and said, okay! And asked if she had a name and an address or a phone number or something. But she was like, "hey! let's just go over and visit with her right now!" we were just baffled. 
So we walked over to Dolores' house and she was just heading out to visit with someone, but Hermana Paulino told her who we were and why we had come over, and Dolores was just like, "Oh that's awesome! I've been looking for a church! Let's go upstairs in my apartment so you can talk to me!" So that's what we did! And we had a super great member present lesson and the spirit was really amazing, and Dolores said how much she loved the Lord and appreciated that we had come. Then she gave us these little pears and we walked back to our car and drove home and we were just dumbfounded. We could not believe what had just happened.
 
It was our little miracle. 
Not Eduardo's Pitbull!
Another miracle that we had... we were going to try one of our recent converts who has been borderline less active lately and there was this guy just standing with his dog by the place where I usually park the car, and I felt prompted to talk to him, so naturally I strike up a conversation about his pitbull and ask if I can pet it and then we got into this long conversation about God and how He loves his children and all His creations and we shared a Book of Mormon with him and he said, "Oh my gosh! I used to have one of these, I read a little bit in it, but then I lost it. I will definitely read it this time, thank you for the copy!" And he told us we could come over to talk a little bit more about the church! His name is Eduardo. 

We love the Book of Mormon! We had an awesome Zone Training this week about the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion. We talked about how it is absolutely essential for our investigators to be reading if we want them to have true and lasting conversion! Now the whole mission is doing a competition which will be really cool - each day you have to ready 1 chapter of the BOM, one of your investigators or LA members has to read 1 chapter of the BOM, and you have to give out one BOM. Every day that you do ALL THREE of those things, you get a point. Each night, the Assistants are going to call EVERY companionship in the mission and find out how many points you got! The score will reset every single week! We're so excited, we've already been committing people to do it! We have been getting a lot of really positive responses! 
When we tried to commit Jorge to do it, he just looked at us and was like, "I've already been doing that!" Haha we were just like, "Who are you!?" 

Anyway. Things have been going amazingly. Since we decided to work with the members and LA's, we have been getting super tight with a lot of the people in this branch. They're really starting to love and trust us. The scary thing is that I know eventually I'm just going to have to leave this area, and I never want to!! I'm probably just going to find an apartment and move in to Lancaster, PA and be in the Spanish branch forever and go on team ups with the Sister missionaries every single day! I already have a family who said they are going to adopt me! Actually they said that they already DID adopt me. So that's an important first step! ;) hahaha

I love this work! I love the Book of Mormon! That book has played an incredibly large part in my personal conversion, and I invite each of you to read it over and over and over - to study the message that it contains, and to fall in love with the Book of Mormon! It will help you with any problem you are facing or question you have.
A chapter a day keeps the devil away ;)

LOVE YOU GUYS! 

Love, 
Hermana Bills

A straight shot home!

Investigators
Chair Soccer





Monday, August 10, 2015

Purging







Buffalo Wild Wings
  



Holy cow! So many ups and downs this week! 

This morning, Hermana Davis and I were studying in John 15:1-16 and we loved verse two which says, 

          "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." 

We absolutely loved that scripture this morning because it just described our lives this past week. There were so many amazing incredible moments and so many "purging" moments as well. But just to read that scripture and know that the Lord is not purging us because He doesn't love us or feels that we're not working hard enough. He is purging us because we're bringing forth fruit, and He wants us to reach the fullest of our potential. 

We are praying for charity. 
We are working on becoming more bold. 
We are developing our faith.

It has been such a wonderful experience serving with Hermana Davis. Because we work so hard and we try so hard but at the same time it just comes so naturally because she is such an outstanding missionary. It's so easy to work the area because we really don't have to work at our companionship. It's exactly what this branch needs right now. We can completely focus all of our time and love and energy and just put it all into the branch because we don't have to worry about getting along or being disobedient or anything. 

It's amazing.

So that's exactly what we've been doing. Putting everything we have into the branch. The work is exhausting, but it is well worthwhile. 

Some of the lows that we hit this week...
on Monday we got cut 300 miles which was a real hit for the area. We have been praying to know how to work the area and last transfer we received 300 extra miles so that we could get to each of the sub areas that we cover. But now with the cut, we're not sure how we're supposed to make it work. We've been struggling a little bit because we don't understand how there are missionaries who are only covering the boundaries for half of a ward who have 900 miles, and we're supposed to cover the boundaries for half of a STAKE and we only have 1000 miles - only 100 more than those other areas. Someone tell me how we're supposed to cover 4 enormous wards with 1000 miles. Hahaha. Soooo it's just kind of stressful and we're trying to pray for patience to deal with the situation. We've just been spending a LOT of time walking around from appointment to appointment and getting better and better at planning things closely together so that when we have appointments in our far out areas, that we have the miles to get there. 
BUT I guess it's just preparing us for our new area!!! 
We were just confirmed this week that we're DEFINITELY getting moved to the new walk area that's opening up in the branch and honestly we are just so stoked. We have wanted this so bad and just prayed and prayed to receive it and the Lord was all like, "Knock and ye shall receive." And we were all like, "OMG did that really just work?"
TOTES DID. 
So that was a highlight and definitely not a low light so it shouldn't have been included in this section but it was just such a good transition so it had to be done. 

But I guess I shouldn't really focus on the negative things that happened this week. I do what you guys to know that I definitely have days where I struggle and cry and that things are really hard but in spite of all of those things I always focus on the one guy who pulls me through and that is my Savior Jesus Christ. Why should I be focused on the bad things that happen or the trials that come when I have a God who loves me and is perfectly aware of me? Who directs me in the work and has prepared a plan for my life that is perfect and beautiful beyond anything I can ever imagine on my own? 

And I truly have felt that. 
This week we had the amazing opportunity to go to the Washington DC temple. As I sat in the Celestial room I was just overcome with this incredible joy and feeling of love that the Lord has for me. I am becoming (slowly but surely) more and more aware of His watchful hand, guiding and directing me in my life. Always for the better. I know that He prepares each of us for our great callings in life. My love for the Lord and His commandments has never been stronger. This gospel is so amazing. I am so blessed to be a part of it! 
The temple was incredible. I learned so many new things as we went through the endowment session. I was grateful for the opportunity to go. It has been hard to only go every couple months as a missionary. I have made a goal to go weekly when I get home, and I'm so excited for that! 
Something else that I will never take for granted LITERALLY EVER AGAIN is Cafe Rio you guys. 
That place. 
Is.
Amazing.
We went there on Saturday on our way back from the temple and I literally wept tears of joy. 
Cafe Rio is the food of choice in the celestial kingdom. 
I know it. 
I have leftovers in the fridge back home and I am planning on eating them within the hour. 
I haven't felt this excited about anything in a long time. 
Jk.

Speaking of excitement, though! Some exciting news! Diana and Jorge got married on Thursday this week!! There was so much support and love from the members of the branch. Hermana Martinez (our hispanic adopted mother) called us on Wednesday night and we spent a little under an hour getting things set up so that Diana and Jorge felt special and loved! It went really well and looked really nice! It was a super short ceremony, and there was a little gathering afterward. We met Diana's daughter and son-in-law! They were really nice. 
More excitement, Jorge finished the lessons and passed his baptismal interview, so he'll be getting baptized this Saturday! We're so stoked! 

We were able to work with some awesome families this week and so see a lot of success! Honestly it's something that is so exciting to be able to work with FAMILIES rather than individuals. So cool. So we'll see what comes out of some of those things. Stay tuned.

We were also able to pick up a new investigator living in Elizabethtown! He doesn't speak any English so he wants to come to the branch with us! But it's like a 45 minute drive! He has a car and everything, he's just got to be willing to make the sacrifice! So we're hoping that as we teach the gospel to him boldly and with love that he will understand the importance of coming to church! He seems like a seriously great guy, and hopefully we can start teaching his son as well!! 

Anyway! This work is amazing! I'm out of time for the week, I feel like I could go on and on and on! 

You guys are so amazing! I hope that you feel my love and that you know how spectacular you are! We each have a purpose in this life - we are so important in the Lord's work!! He needs us! 

So go out there and change lives! 
I'll be doing the same right along with you! 

I LOVE YOU GUYS! 
Love, 
Hermana Bills 



Monday, August 3, 2015

MI VIDA HA CAMBIADO. I finally get it.

HEY GUYS!
Everything is great! Seriously! 
Blacklight

This week was so amazing. I have seriously been able to see the hand of the Lord in my life this week in a powerful way. It's been truly incredible. I am so blessed. 
Things started off wonderfully when we happened to miraculously run into Kathy again as we were running on the track one morning. She asked if she could walk with us and she confided in us some of the things that she was going through and struggling with. We told her that we'd love to come do some service for her, and she actually stopped and thought about it and said that she would try to think of something that we could do for her. So she was going to let us know! 
BUT THEN I GOT SICK! D: I was so sick and running this awful fever and I just felt awful. So we didn't do missionary work all day one day this week cause I was just so gross and sick. We went to the church to get a blessing from the elders because I was so sick... did I mention how sick I was? It was awful! The worst part of being sick is that you feel guilty for being sick because you're not doing missionary work and then it's just even worse because you can't do anything about it but sleep so that you can get better so that you can do missionary work sooner but then when you're sleeping you feel bad cause you're not doing missionary work! 
The cycle! 
It is just awful. 
But anyway, the blessing was super awesome, even though I don't even feel like Elder Ekins was talking at all about how I was going to be healed and get better. He talked more about the importance of the work we were doing and how I am here for a reason and how the people need me and I need to be here and there was one point of the blessing where Hermana Davis and I were just SO SURE that he was going to tell me how much longer I am going to be serving in the area, but then he changed what he was saying mid-sentence and it was awful! 
But anyway. So I finally got better and then we went and had interviews with President Johnson and that part of the blessing was just tearing me up, so I made sure to ask PJ if I'll be staying for another transfer and he said YES!! 

YOU GUYS!!

HE SAID YES!!

I GET TO STAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am literally the happiest sister missionary en todo el mundo!! 

Anyway. The interview actually went super well. We talked about some awesome stuff. I love being able to have one on one time with my mission president. He makes me feel like I'm the best missionary in the whole world and that I can do anything! 
I bet that's how interviews would feel like if we were face to face with our Heavenly Father!! The best! 
Well, I guess unless we were wicked. Then we'd probably want the depths of earth to swallow us up and the mountains to cover us and the whirlwinds to carry us away and buildings to fall on us and crush us to pieces and grind us to powder.
Either or. 

But anyway, at least I'm not wicked so I didn't have to worry about that sensation in my interview. It just went good and we both cried together and it was really nice. 

I told him again of the love I have for this area and the people and Hermana Davis and how I don't know if I've ever been happier in my entire life. Everything is awesome. 

Some awesome things that happened this week specifically was that we were able to do service for an inactive member who is really struggling with her testimony right now and has been thinking about leaving the church. It ended up being really good and we thought of the perfect idea to invite the relief society president to come with us since she is a professional painter. Maybe some fellowship will help this lost sister feel loved and important and have a desire to come back! Who knows what will happen. 
We were also able to get a team up with one of my favorite people - Hermana Mateo! She drove us ALL the way out to columbia - a 30 minute drive one way - drove us all over the town looking for potentials, and walked around with us while we knocked on doors for like a whole hour. And then when we were FINALLY about to leave, thinking that the whole evening was a failure, I saw this young mom unloading stuff out of her trunk. We went over to see if she needed help, and we offered her the gospel and she was super interested and she said we could come back! Now we have a return appointment for this Wednesday and Hermana Mateo is planning on coming again! The Lord blesses us so much! We have the best members in the whole world! 

We've been following the prompting that the Lord gave us to spend a lot of time with the members whenever we can. This week we were able to stop by and visit with a family that is struggling right now that we didn't know very well, and now we're super close! We found out that they've been wanting to do family history for forever and didn't know how, and now we have an appointment with them to do it at the church with another member! We also found out that they have two less active sons, and that we can work with one and try to help to reactivate him! It was such a good visit. The spirit was really strong! And now we have a great relationship with that family, they called us a few times this week and we just love them so much and are super excited to get them to the temple to do the work for their ancestors! 

The best day of the week, however, was fast sunday
Honestly yesterday just changed my life. 
We had the opportunity to go to SPC which was the first and probably only time any sister missionary in this whole mission has and/or will ever go to that meeting so that was crazy. Our stake president just asked us to be there to talk about the branch and it was insane. We had to wake up at 5am and drive an hour to get there, though. Crazy. But it seriously changed my life. He was talking about the reason they decided to organize the branch after YEARS of trying and how it had never been right in the past but they had FINALLY gotten the ok from Heavenly Father to go ahead and try it. But he told us that if they do not see SIGNIFICANT GROWTH in the branch, that they'll just dissolve it back into the wards and that was it. It just got so real after he said that. And I think right then it finally clicked how important this work is. Like... Not only do I feel the urgency for the branch - if we're not baptizing at least one family a month, they're going to close it down. But I feel the urgency for everyone. For like missionary work in general.
Guys! THE LORD IS COMING. Like we are preparing the way. This is the only dispensation in the whole history of the earth where we will not fail. Literally all the other prophets in every other dispensation of time knew that eventually the gospel was going to be taken from the earth. But THIS is the dispensation of the fullness of times. This is the one and only time where it will not fail. We are literally destined to succeed. And these people need to know that! They need to know that this is the way to live in God's presence again! If we don't tell them, who will!? 

Wow.

So anyway. 
But yeah so then we had church which is always great. Somehow we ended up not having anyone signed up to feed us for dinner which is SUPER unusual, not only for a Sunday but especially for a fast Sunday, so we were really sad. But we had some leftovers from dinner with w member from a couple of days ago and we figured we could just eat that. So we were leaving the church after sacrament meeting with heads hung low and ALL THE SUDDEN this member (the Martinez family) just put their van in reverse and called us to come over and talk to them and get said "Hermanas, where are you going right now." And we said we were just going home cause we didn't have a dinner appointment. Then they said "Hermanas! Eso es apostasía. Ustedes tienen que venir con nosotros a nuestra casa" so they invited us over and we had dinner with them and it was amazing! They made us authentic Colombian food and I was drooling it was so delicious. 


Then we had a miracle! One of the sisters in the relief society called Hermana Martinez (cause we have an elderly member that was checked into the hospital on Saturday - grampa Arocho) and she was looking for someone to go to the hospital with her because she wanted to visit him but she didn't want to go alone. Luckily, we didn't have any set appointments, so we were able to help her out! She expressed how grateful she was because she had called like 4 other people and no one had been available. But honestly it was just such a good experience for us. We got to sit and listen to him tell his conversion story and we sang hymns together and talked about the gospel and it was super spiritually uplifting. It was a great blessing. 

So basically missionary work is the best thing ever. I can't believe it took me 13 months of being a missionary to finally start to get the full importance of being a missionary, and the urgency in the work. I do not want to let one single person pass me by without making sure that they have a real chance to understand and accept Christ and His gospel. This is way too important. 

I love this work!
I love you guys, 
Have a good week!!

Love, 
Hermana Bills

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Only in Pennsylvania!
I love these people. and free newspapers. Nothing better!