Monday, September 28, 2015

Perfectly Happy

This week has been SO amazing! 

It was seriously one of the funnest weeks ever. Mostly just the weekend. Monday was funny cause we blew up a pumpkin with rubber bands. I love our district. The rubber bandits. 
Tuesday was fun but a little bit sad. Sister Canseco wasn't feeling good. Again. It's been such a hard transfer for her! She's been sick so much :( 
But honestly, Hermana Davis and I could not spend another day in that apartment not doing missionary work, so we called around to some of the sisters in the branch and found one who was willing to stay home with Sister Canseco. So the elders drove us to the sisters house, and Hermana Davis and I worked while Sister Canseco got some rest. 
We were out for about 5 hours, just walking around, talking to people, laughing, working hard. It felt so good. We saw a less active sister and she had read from 1 Nephi 1 all the way to Mosiah 15 IN ONE WEEK!! It was amazing!!! She said she has felt such an amazing power come into her life and her home. It was so crazy!
Then we met some awesome new people and taught them a lesson... ON A BUS! Guys, that has been my dream for the longest time! I've always wanted to do that! 
Unfortunately, they didn't speak any Spanish, so we sent them over to the elders in the Lancaster ward. 
Wednesday was another day inside. Sister Canseco was still sick, and we couldn't find anyone to take care of her, so we just stayed inside with her. We cleaned a little and studied the scriptures while she slept. We played some card games and just talked and pulled the hairs out of our heads one by one as we slowly and painfully died of boredom. 

The end. 

No, just kidding. We actually did manage to get out of the house. We had this dinner appointment, and we had already had to cancel on her last week because of something, and she was so worried that we were going to cancel on her again. So Sister Canseco put on a brave face and sat through the dinner appointment. 
When we got home she was laughing and talking and joking and playing card games with us and she seemed to be doing a lot better. We asked her if she was feeling well enough to maybe go out and try someone. She said she still felt really sick. I just hope she starts feeling better this week! It is the worst to be sick as a missionary, you could literally be puking your guts out and still feel guilty for not doing missionary work. 

Thursday was THE BEST EVER! We got to go do service for one of our favorite families in the world, we were stacking wood and like cleaning up leaves and twigs and logs from a tree he had felled and chopped. He drove us around in his tractor and we worked really hard raking and loading the wagon with twigs and leaves and rocks and stuff. It was the funnest thing ever. Sister Canseco stayed in the car and slept so she could get better. Then they took us all out for lunch afterward! So nice! 
Friday WAS AMAZING! We had zone conference in Harrisburg and it was seriously so inspirational. I always love going to zone conference, the spirit is so strong, and it always feels so amazing to be with so many other missionaries, it really just buoys you up! 
The funniest thing! President Johnson was ON one during the conference. He started off the conference with a #BLANDIS photo and he said "I know some of you may have heard some rumors, and I just want to clear them up. 
#BLANDIS is a no go!" 
I was so done with his attitude haha. No one else in the entire chapel even got it except for us and we felt so honored and special. 
Then, since we're the assistants to the assistants now (I hope you're all up to speed with that joke, otherwise this isn't going to make any sense), we were doing the lights at the conference, like whenever the lights needed to be turned on or off that was our duty. And we were totally doing an awesome job with it. And the conference was coming to a close, there were just a few more remarks, and President Johnson told us that we needed to be sitting up on the stand with the assistants and with him and Sister Johnson and we were laughing cause it was so funny and then he totally shouted out to us over the pulpit! Like President Johnson is a full on homie! He was thanking the people who did musical numbers and Sister Johnson for how wonderful she is and the assistants for all the hard work they do for the mission. And then, in our finest moment, President Johnson turns around, looks at us, smirks, turns back around and says to the missionaries, "And thank you to our fabulous AAs for the amazing light work." IT WAS THE SINGLE GREATEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE.
 Like we could not believe our ears! Six weeks ago this started as a joke with Elder Birrell and Elder Gates and now it's for real! Hahaha the mission president literally holla'd at us in his closing remarks! 
Pinch me. Am I dreaming!? 
It was the funnniest, best thing in the entire universe. 

We all took pictures and everything together after zone conference. Then we gathered up our posse and went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse and had a roll eating competition. (Cause we're broke and can't afford anything else ;) haha #missionaryprobs) It was the funnest thing, there were 11 of us crammed around this tiny little table and it was the funniest night. 
Saturday was SO AWESOME because we got to get up and do service for this family in the branch that was moving to a new apartment. And their apartment is SUPER close to ours! So we're way happy! We moved them all morning, and then we had lunch with some of our recent converts, they took us out to lunch at Golden Corrall and it was the best time ever. 
Here's what happened. 
So Elder Gates and Elder Birrell are the AP's of the mission. They're super cool. Elder Gates served here in Lancaster just under a year ago, and he was the one who baptized Nydia and Luis (the ones who took us to lunch). So when we found out that the AP's were going to be coming to Lancaster for an exchange, we knew we had to surprise Nydia and Luis! So Hermana Davis and Elder Andrade and I set up the lunch appointment and we surprised them by having Elder Gates be there and it was the best, cutest thing in the ENTIRE universe!!! It was so special. 
After lunch, there was a baptism for the branch in york, so we all loaded up in the party van and headed over. We played the ABC game and it got so intense. I love being with other missionaries. 
The baptism was amazing. It was a brother and a sister, and the spirit was so strong. Joel said his testimony at the end and it was super powerful. I also got to sit by my little friend Sofia as I "played the piano" (thank heaven for whoever invented player pianos). 
After the baptism, we got some ice cream with the missionaries on the other side, and then we drove back home and street contacted some people before the women's broadcast. 
It was so fun, we had an ice cream social before and all the women from the stake were there, which is kind of amazing because I know a lot of them since I've stayed in the same corner of the mission my entire life ;) haha. So I got to see a lot of really cool people. Then we watched the broadcast with the branch sisters in Spanish!! It was so cool, but I will definitely be going back and watching it in English. It was sad though, because we didn't have dinner that night until like 10:15 and we were STARVING and it was right before fast Sunday so I was really sad!! Haha but we made chicken nuggets before bed really quick. #missionprobs

But Sunday was probably the best day of my whole life. I kind of know that it's going to be my last Sunday with the branch, since next Sunday is General Conference and so we won't be with anyone. What happened was that we had a combined branch Sunday, and the whole branch met together for the first time since it was organized. 
It was just the biggest blessing... for me to have been a part of the branch since the very first Sunday that it was organized, and then to be able to just SEE all of the branch all together like that... wow. That was powerful. It was definitely the biggest blessing. I couldn't help but cry. 
I got up and I shared my testimony. I just want to stay with these people forever. To help the branch grow. I would seriously just spend the rest of my life here with these people doing missionary work and trying to make this branch become a stake. It means everything to me. 

I've been thinking a lot lately on how we can tell if we're successful in the Lord's eyes. I know that all He asks us to do is our very best, and to follow His spirit and rely on Him as we do it. I know that I fall short constantly, but I'm so grateful that He loves me and helps me in spite of everything. He sees me for my potential - who I can become. I love Him for that. 
I'm so grateful for this gospel, and for the knowledge that I have that things don't have to be perfect all the time for me to be happy. 

And I'm perfectly happy with that. :) 


Hermana Bills


Monday, September 21, 2015

Wake me up when September Ends

Okay this is really embarrassing. Like to the point where I don't even want to write about it, it's that embarrassing...
Oh, wait, that wasn't what I was talking about!

I know I said last week that I'd have a longer email this week because more things would happen. Unfortunately, I feel like I can't remember a lot of things that happened this week...

...Why is that??

oh yeah, I remember. 

Because I got a flippin concussion, that's why. 

I am seriously so embarrassed about this, I don't want to write it. The more I tell the story, the stupider it sounds. Plus my head is still a little bit fuzzy and so I can't really think straight haha. 

Alright. I just have to face the facts that I do stupid things and that my stories are going to be stupid. 

So last Monday. A week ago today. We were having a family home evening with this cute spanish family. Johnathan and Yaritza have been married and baptized for just about two years now. They have two of the cutest kids in the whole world. I love spending time with their family. So we were having family home evening with them, and all the sudden Johnathan pulls out this white handbook and he was like saying something and telling a joke and we were laughing. Then I asked, "So, is that your white handbook? Where did you serve your mission?" 
And then I realized what a dumb question that was, since he'd only been a member for two years, so how would he ever have served a mission? So my face went bright red and I tried to hide my face behind the couch (because I was sitting on the floor) and I accidentally smacked my head on the side of this dumb metal table that I didn't even realize was there. So now I was even more embarrassed but I just tried to laugh it off because it was just... really awkward. But seriously my head just started reeling and I got this giant lump almost immediately and I had to just take a step back from everything. I didn't want to say anything, so they just kept going with the lesson. MY head was hurting so bad. When we got home I had like a mach 5 migraine and I was just done for the night. We planned for the next day and I went straight for my bed - no brushing teeth, no jam jams, no washing my face. Nothing. I slept the whole night and through studies in the morning. When I woke up, I ran to the bathroom and just dry heaved over the toilet for like 20 minutes and just cried. I was so dizzy and nauseous and my vision was blurred. It was awful. I told the sisters and they called Sister Johnson. I remember feeling like really confused and like irritable. The mission doctor called, and I talked to him for a while. He told me to go back to sleep. 

I slept a lot. 

For like 3 days. 

I remember periodically waking up throughout the day and feeling confused. Sometimes I thought I was in American Fork, sometimes I thought I was staying in a random hotel... I thought I was in like all these different places.

Wednesday night was the worst. I tried to get out because we were so bored in that little apartment, but that ended up being a really bad idea. We were driving home and I seriously felt like I was going to lose it. I told myself that if I just took deep breaths, I could make it back to the apartment. 
Well the elders dropped us off, and I was waiting while Sister Canseco was backing them, and I knew I couldn't wait anymore. So I ran to a nearby bush and just started puking. Well not really puking, it wasn't actually that bad. But anyway. The elders started freaking out and they said we needed to go to the ER. I said I was fine, I just wanted to go to sleep. We called Sister Johnson, she said we didn't need to go to the ER, but if we wanted to find a MedXpress we could do that. So we tried to find one, but they said they couldn't do anything for a concussion cause they didn't have any equipment or something. I don't remember. I was crying in the back seat. 

We ended up just going home. 
Luckily I'm feeling a LOT better right now. The worst seems to be over. 

In other news, Elder Stanfill from the quorum of the 70 came to visit our mission. We had a big half mission meeting on Friday with all of the people that I love and I was seriously so happy. It was so fun and amazing, and so spiritually uplifting. Sister Stanfill was seriously the biggest answer to my prayers. There have been so many things I'm struggling with or have questions on, and she just answered all of my prayers. She rocks. It was a great day. 

Then yesterday there was a big fireside for the Harrisburg zone, and President Johnson asked that everyone from Lancaster zone attend, so we got to go and I SAW SO MANY PEOPLE FROM LEBANON WARD! I saw Joe and I saw Sebastian and I saw the Gards and the Behunins and the Boggs and the Johnsons and the Laudermilch's and....
It was literally the celesital kingdom up in that hizzle. 
Then we got up to sing the closing song and everything was amazing because it was the EFY medley and wow. 
That was something else. 
As a missionary, you get to feel the spirit pretty strongly, and pretty frequently. But I have not felt the spirit THAT strong for a long time. That was amazing. 
I was just crying... being able to see all those people that I love. I remember kneeling and saying my prayer and thanking the Lord for the people that I have met on my mission and for how incredibly blessed I've been and how grateful I am that He sent me out here... I am the luckiest girl alive. 

I love this mission. So much. 

Love, Hermana Bills 


Monday, September 14, 2015

Drip drip drop, little April Showers . . . oh wait, its September!

Hey, I don't have a lot to say this week. We had a really good week, it was slow - there was a lot of rain. The leaves are changing colors and I seriously have anxiety attacks whenever I see them because I realize how close I am to going home and I have serious bipolar issues when it comes to the idea of leaving the mission. Like on the one hand I don't think I could ever see myself doing anything other than missionary work for the rest of my life. And on the other hand I'm super excited to see everyone again and just be able to hug everyone and go to college and further my education and all that good stuff. 


Enough about that. 

This week we had a super legit lesson with our investigator David! He is sooo cool. In the middle of the lesson he just stops us and is like, "Guys. I just got goosebumps. This is the Holy Ghost, can you feel it?" 
Woah, wait... I already wrote this story.

Oh yeah, I just remembered that last week I started writing on Tuesday! Ah, that's why I feel like I have nothing to write about. 

Well anyway. We had another great lesson with Ramon. We invited to be baptized on a specific date. He said that he knows he wants to get baptized, but he wouldn't set a date because he felt like he wasn't ready. And Hermana Paulino came to church, but he wasn't there! So we're just really sad because we don't know what to do! We can usually get in to see them if we just drop by, but if we ever happen to set a return appointment, they like never keep it! Which is really sad, because how are we ever supposed to get member fellowship over there? Ah... But we are praying really hard for them. We had a lesson with just Hermana Paulino and invited her to pray for each of the members in her family by name and she said she would. I have such a testimony of the power of prayer! The Lord can work miracles for us if we turn to Him. 

We've also been working with the Rodriguez family - they are amazing!! Waldo, Yara, Tammy, Waldo Jr. and Gingy. They are the cutest family. We had a dinner appointment with them this week and it was so delicious and they gave us food to take home and I was so happy. 
Their kids are so spiritual and have the strongest testimonies. It's amazing.
So here's what happened. 
On Sunday we had to report to the branch council that Jose is no longer going to be able to get baptized on September 26 since he hasn't been coming to church, and we were really sad. But then our branch president was just like, "I expect there to be a baptism on the 26th anyway." So we were just like blown away cause we couldn't think of ANYONE at all who would be able to make it to baptism so soon. No one had come to church enough times and we definitely haven't taught people the lessons well enough to have someone get baptized. 
But then during sacrament meeting we were thinking about it and looking around and then we realized... YARA! Yara isn't a member yet! 
So right then and there we started praying for a miracle, because President Gogna still expects us to have a baptism on the 26th and SO HELP ME we are going to get it!! 

We were also able to have a super awesome lesson with that guy Lewis that randomly texted us. He's super interested to learn more. We had a lesson out in front of Prince Street Cafe which was really weird but hey, you gotta make it work ;) 
We should be meeting with him tomorrow in the church building though, so hopefully he'll be able to feel the spirit. He's really awesome and I actually just saw him walking through the library! Hard at work :) 

In other news, it is finally getting cool outside and I LOVE IT! 
IT POURED RAIN like 2 whole days this week and on Thursday we were out walking in it, and Hermana Davis and I forgot to pack umbrellas so we were SOAKING wet!! But it ended up being a great way to start conversations with people. We kept telling them, "go hard or go home." hahaha it was so funny. We made so many friends and it was such a fun experience. 
But we had this dinner appointment at a members house and we were soaking wet... they thought it was the funniest thing ever. 

Other good news... we have been listening to Christmas music and I just want it to snow. I love the snow. Can someone please make sure there is snow in SLC on December 30? Please and thank you. 

Okay... well I'm really sorry this email is so short! I just don't really have anything to talk about. I will have more to write next week, guaranteed. 

Love you all,
Hermana Bills 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

La-la-la-labor Day

This week absolutely flew by! But at the same time I feel like this week was a year long! So many things happened. 

Monday we had our  #blandis exchange which was really good but also really bad because it made me wish that #blandis was a real thing...
It was just so easy and fun. We talked to like everyone on the streets and it was just normal and triple testifying was something that is just out of this world. I'd forgotten how good of a missionary Hermana Landa is. She is amazing for reals. She is one of my best friends in this whole world, and I know that she's had a hard mission and that she feels like she just needs a break. 


Anyway. The #blandis exchange was fabulous. We walked all over the streets of Lancaster PA. We OYMed, we got rejected, we laughed, and we found a lot of success. 

Monday night as we entered into hour 1 of #teamblandis we were walking out of a dinner appointment and I got this prompting to go check up on a LA sister who had been in New York all week the week before, and since she didn't have a phone, we hadn't heard from her. She was home when we knocked on the door, and so was her nonmember husband, Ramon! We had set a goal in one of our companionship studies, that if we had a chance, we were going to invite him to sit down and have a lesson, so I did not mince words. I reminded him that he had told us in the past that he wanted to learn, and that we'd love to sit down with him and have a lesson. So he sat down! And we had a great lesson and the spirit was amazing! He said that he would be baptized and we were like crying. So that was awesome. 

The Tuesday we were coming up on the 11th hour of the #blandis exchange and we were on our way to the church and we were saying hola to every hispanic person we saw, but then all of a sudden this one guy got super excited that we were speaking in Spanish, and we told him about how we were missionaries and we were learning so we could preach the gospel. Then we started talking about the Book of Mormon and told him what it was and that Christ's church had been restored to the earth. He said, "I've been looking for this. This is the best thing that I've heard all day." It was so amazing. We set a return appointment so we could come back the next day, and we brought a member with us to fellowship him. The lesson was amazing. His wife even came in mid lesson and started listening and accepted a Book of Mormon and was super interested. He had so many great questions and everything made so much sense to him. We had a kneeling prayer with him at the end of the lesson and invited him to ask if the things that we had taught were true. He just said, "I already know that they're true." I was like freaking out!! Who is this guy!! He accepted a baptismal date for late September but he wasn't able to make it out to church, so we're gonna have to push it back a little bit which made me sad! But he is still going to get there, and hopefully with his wife as well.

Also on Tuesday we were walking, trying to contact some less active families that no one has ever met, and this guy was walking behind us and all the sudden Hermana Landa just whoops around and says, "Can I share a book with you?" It was crazy, this gospel conversation broke out and turned into this great street lesson. At first he said, "Well I'll take the book but it will just go on top of all my other bibles back at home." But then Hermana Landa smacked down with, "Well why would you do that? If God sent you a text message to your phone right now, wouldn't you want to open it and know what it says? Well this is God's message for you, and if you don't read it, you will never know." I was just like stunned into silence, and so was the guy. So he promised to read it, and we wrote our number in the front, not thinking he was too interested. 
A couple of days later we get this text from a random number that says "Hello. My name is Lewis. We met on Prince Street. You gave me a book to read. I had a few questions." We started freaking out! It was so amazing! So we're meeting with him tonight, and we're really hoping that he read the book! I can't wait to see what happens. 

A few more amazing stories from throughout the week....
On Thursday morning we were walking to our weekly service and this lady stopped us and started complaining about how rude people are, and all the sudden she just started crying and we just testified to her that God loves her and knows she is there. She said she really needed to hear it. She told us her name was Misse and she'd be interested in meeting with us. We called her that night and she was so surprised to hear from us! She said, "I didn't think you guys actually cared." Hopefully we will see her today as well! Stay tuned.

We were able to do service for Hermana Carcamo this week to finish painting her house. It was so fun, I love painting. We were laughing and joking with her and each other. Then her husband came out - I've never met him! Him and Elder Andrade started talking and really hit it off. They bonded over the what's happening with the mafia in Mexico, and it was so amazing. I was really happy because I don't know if Hermano Carcamo has talked to anyone from the church in a really long time! Then they paid for us to go out to lunch at Olive Garden! I was so happy! 

Last but not least we have David. 

We had a lesson with him last night and he just stopped us mid lesson and said, "You guys. I just got goosebumps. The Holy Ghost is here right now, can you feel that?" Then we took that opportunity to invite him to be baptized and he said that he would, but he needed to be sure about everything first. The only problem with David is that he doesn't have ANY time. He works 7-7 every single day of the week. So we are praying for him that something changes with his job! We know how amazing and prepared he is for this gospel! When we were teaching about priesthood authority, he TOTALLY just got it - he compared it to like a doctor that goes to college for years and then gets that degree and they have the RIGHT and like the certification to perform surgeries or write prescriptions because they had been certified to do so. It was so cool. He said an amazing prayer thanking the Lord for, "sending his servants to preach the good word" and asking for help to be faithful in studying the scriptures... guys. He is golden. 

It was just such a good week all in all. 
The funny thing is that for like 2 days straight we were just cooped up in the apartment. Sister Canseco had to go to the ER one day... THAT was an adventure. 
She woke up with a swollen eye and a headache in the back of her head. I told her to take a nap and drink some water...hahahaha. This is why I'm not a doctor. When we called Sister Johnson about it, she called the mission doctor and he told us to go to the ER right away. So we called the Lanc elders and they drove us to the hospital. We were there for a whole like 45 minutes was all, I think. The ER doctor rolled his eyes and seemed super annoyed that we were there. He said it was nothing, gave her an advil and some ointment for her eye and then we went home. Sister Johnson was so annoyed with him haha it was funny. 
Sister Canseco didn't start feeling better until we had to drop her off at a members house because we needed to go teach a lesson and she still wasn't feeling better. Hermana Martinez told her that she was stressed. She gave her some medicine, we started icing and heating her neck, and Hermana Martinez gave us like this massage stick thing that we did on her back and her neck and head and she is all better now. 
I would be stressed if I had to be Hermana Bills' companion, too!! hahaha. 

Yesterday was such a good day. We had a huge branch party at a park and played football and frisbee and beach volleyball and sang songs on the ukulele and guitar and had a bbq with the best food in the world and I was the happiest person alive. It was so fun we had like 70+ people show up! It was an awesome success. 
Then we had dinner with some members in the Lancaster ward and they taught us how to eat crabs and it was so fun and hilarious and we even ate the eyeballs! I felt like survivor man.

But anyway, that's pretty much it for this week. It was super awesome and really fun and, as usual, full of laughs and happy moments! 
I am thankful for the positive example that each of you are in my life! I am so grateful to have you all and for the way you support me and help me out!


Hermana Bills