Sunday, May 24, 2015

Letter from 3/16/2015


Wow I can´t believe that Smith is now gettig ready to leave. Super crazy how all of a sudden everyone is leaving. Since I have started my mission the number of missionaries has gone up a lot in our ward and that is super crazy cool to see. 

Well we had a mission tour here this week in Barcelona so we had four zones get together. That way they only have to do 3 conferences. The general authority that came to do it was Elder Olson of the Seventy. He is Swedish and lives in Stockholm.  He also is the temple record keeper there. It was definitely a very interesting conference and then afterwards President Pace asked him to have an interview with me. Wow was I scared! I was like what did I do? But it was super cool. During the conference he basically kind of shared with us an idea throughout the conference intertwined with how to become better missionaries and better teachers. He basically said that when we go home to keep living these high stnadards and keeping the commandments and to keep going down this path we have started. To never return to who we were before the mission.

It really makes a lot of sense. The reason for the lower age change other than revelation of course is this. Before there where about 50 thousand missionaries.  Well when you lower the age you push out 85 thousand missionaries. That is an extra 35 thousand missionaries that go on missions that didn´t have the opportunity to say no because they went down another path between 18 and 19 years old. This is were the church will see more growth. Not because there are going to be 35 thousand more missionaries so we will se more convert baptisms. But that, that is and extra 35 thousand returned missionaries who have learned to keep their temple covenants. That is an extra 35 thousand missionaries who will get married in the temple and have kids with thier spouses and the majority of them will have active families, so in 20 years from now the 85 thousand missionaries gets huge. Bigger stronger families in the church. In 20 years from now when all of us that will be going home and have kids the number of missonaries will be lets say 85 thousand times 2 or 3 because of our kids who have grown up it the gospel. 

The church has a cycle, born in the coventent, endowment, mission, sealed in temple, repeat. By putting 35 thousand more missionaries in the field that is like 35 thousand more members endowed. Which means have more temple marriages which means more kids born in the covenant which means stronger families in the church. Bigger growth faster. 

Wow, that is why right now they are going so hard on us misisonaries that will be going home to keep living a higher standerd of living and to not go back to what we where before. 

Aside from that I am still in the Domincan Republic. The other night we stepped into a house and I did not understand one thing for about the first 15 minutes. They sure have their own way of speaking. 

Chas wrote me back. He said he is just trying to get into listening to that Anuclian accent. It really is something different. Even natve Spanish speakers have a hard time understanding them. But I think it is my favorite accent. 

Well everything is good here. Just realizing the end is coming soon and I don´t want it to come.

Love Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter from 3/9/2015

Hey Dad,

Well it sounds like a very eventful week that you guys have had there at home. Same here. We have just been going non stop. Hospitalet is a great place and I feel like I am in the DR some times. 

We had a super great week setting baptismal fechas and having lots of lessons. Wow, I really don´t know what to write about this week. Well, I think my Spanish is improving. Well it better be, speaking just Spanish since I got here. Two Americans and two natvie Spanish speakers living together and the other two are the zone leaders so all we do is speak Spanish. My head screws the languages up together sometimes. I told mom, but while I was trying to speak to some returned missionaries that served in the states things would just come out in Spanish even though I was thinking about each freaking work in English. 

I need to talk to Chaz and send him an email. I keep saying I will but I forget. Actaully cause we are so close to the mission home we had a couple of new guys here Tuesday night that were in the mtc with Chaz so I asked them if they new him and they thought that was crazy  cause we are from the same ward in Washington and they are all from freaking Utah and all know each other. 

It actually made me laugh cause we took them out to the street to work for a couple hours and well I am living in the piso that I was in my first night of the mission just like they were. So, I was just thinking back to my first night not knowing what I had just stepped into. And well it was about the same for them except I don´t remember my Spanish sounding so terrible but then agian I don´t think I really spoke much back then. Partially cause I couln´t speak the language and partially cause I had no clue what the heck was going on. I love hearing new American Spanish cause I know that is what we all sound like when we start. Some of us can´t get rid of it though and speak with the same accent our entire missions. 

Well love you Dad,

Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter to Mom
Hey Mom,

Well sounds like an awesome weeked to me. Wish I could have been there to see the performance.

My new area is super great. I am loving it and my companion is a stud. It also helps that he is Spanish so we get to some of the more closed minded people and we speak Spanish all day and all night especially with the Argentino kid we live with. Two native Spanish speakers and to Americans but we all just speak spanish all the time. It was super funny, I go to start speaking to some people here that speak English that served missions in Salt Lake and in San Franciso but it came out in Spanish. Felt super weird. 

Well district leader is a little bit more work having to make calls and ask how missionaries are doing and their investigators and this week I had to talk with some guy and pass him over to the elders in another ward cause he started making moves on the sister missionaries. That happens in every area. So basically it is just more work. 

Here this week we set some more baptsimal fechas and well this area is going to be booming. I think I could start a couple of wards with pure Dominicans.

Love you,

Elder Blake Billingsley

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Letter from 3/3/2015

Well, I got transferred to Hospitalet. 

From what I hear they say it is like serving in the DR. So if my companion can´t help me with my Spanish accent and grammar, I might come home speaking Dominican and trust me it isn´t Spanish they speak. My companion is a Spaniard, but we will have some good times cause I know him a little bit. For sure I will end here in Hospitalet but we shall see what happens. I got called as the district leader over hear after a long line of disrict leader companions. Some more loved than others and I guess I will have to be giving district meeting which I am not looking forward to.

So in the train station today I looked at all the missionaries, watching some go home that are older than me and some of my good friends and then I look at the rest of the missionaries. I don´t know any of them anymore. They are all so young. It is crazy! I was isolated in Lleida for six months and now there is a whole new crew of missionaries. However for the most part all of the elders in my district will be gone in six months. Crazy right?! 

The lectures on faith are the best. I love those things so much. There is one that was super fuerte that was kinda like you do not have faith enough until you are willing to give up not only your life for the Lords name but give up your family and friends to follow him.

So this should be my final area. Going to blow it up. However, I was super sad to leave Lleida cause I had some super good friends and investigators there. 

Love you,

Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter to Mom

Wow, that is super dope that the ward does that break the fast thing. I kinda like that. 

Boom! I now get to watch kenzie and all the boys she is with. It wil be a lot easier this way to stalk her. 

Well I got transferred back to Barcelona. Well, not Barcelona Barcelona. A place called Hospitalet, but it is basically part of Barcelona, so I am back where I started litereally because my first night in the mission I stayed in the piso that I am in till I got my area and companon in Barcelona. Super dope. My new comapnion is Elder Segi and he is from Spain so I will be coming home with a Spanish accent if I abuse him enough. It will be super fun. Actually Saturday night president called me and asked me to come be the distict leader here so that was a shock. So this week I have to give distirct meeting which I am not super thrilled about but I will probably just make it a big discussion cause I hate when the district leader gets up and just talks and talks and talks. It's the worst. 

Well tell Kenzie I can´t wait to come annoy the crap out of here at school. It is going to be super fun!

Love you mom,

Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter from 2/23/2015

Hey Dad, 

Yeah, smart phones are kind of dope huh?! Now you can see why all these people got them. 

Jazz choir, wow, super dope. Kenz and Bren sound like they are just having a ton of fun doing it and kill it while they do it. At least there is someone musically inclined cause it sure isn't me. 

It has been fairly warm around here too. I am afraid that it is goin to get nasty for the next couple of months or even worse. If this next week, I get sent up north again to finish my mission, it would just be rainy every day. Going back south would be pretty sick but I would just sweat like crazy. 

We better make a coast trip when I get back! According to mom, I have three weeks. 

Well I wish I had something good to write about this week or stuff to write about but it was a pretty boring just hard work week. We were working harder than normal to keep our numbers up. 

Love you

Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter to Mom

Hey mom,

Well I don´t remember my account for byui but I am pretty sure that I wrote it down. Hope you can find it. Wish I could do that stuff for you. 

Well concerning byu Provo. I hope that she can get in. It will be hard for sure because you have all of us missionaries returning that have all applied also. You wouldn´t believe the amount of missionaries that did not defer till they got back. It is kind of crazy. 

Just so you all know I have to go home August 19th cause that is the transfer date. If I came home later I would not make it back in time to go to school cause it would be another six weeks but no worries that is the exact day. In fact you will probably get something on my return date in the next 2 months. 

Well we got are butts kicked this week but we did really well still. We had to work even harder than normal but it was a good week. I am reading Jesus The Christ right now and my mind is being blown like crazy. It is one of the best books ever! It might even be my favorite book to read of all time. 

Anyway, love you mom,

Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter from 2/16/2015


Tell Cole he doesn´t have to worry about sweating because I still sweat like crazy. In visits and especially in sacrament meeting talks. Speaking another language just adds on to how sweaty I get. I think it makes it worse just cause I want to say everything correct. 

Holy cow, I am going to go nuts. The world is just the most sinful place ever. We lost all of our baptsimal fechas this week because not a single one is married. If people don´t start puttin a ring on soemone before they do the one thing I'm going to hurt someone. At least they all said the were either going to dump the person the were with or get married so we made some prgress that way. I don´t think I have ever taught the law of chastity so much in one area let alone in a week. We actually did have some super spirtual good lessons about it though.  

Well tell mom thanks for filling out all that stuff to help me out with school. I am going to need it. It is super weird to talk to people here in the mission and then realize that we will be seeing each other in the fall after all is said and done here. Especially since I have met some super cool people here that I would not have know if I went to school without meeting them here. 

Yeah, but so overall we had a great week just can´t seem to find people that are married. 

Oh yeah, I don´t know if you look at the time difference but I am writing you super late because earlier today I put in my passowrd wrong a bunch and it locked me out so I had to change it and it was just a mess. So we ended up coming to email late. 

Love you guys,

Elder Blake Billingsley

                                            Baptism of Pepe

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Letter from 2/9/2015


I knew it! Kenzie let it slip in an email cause at the bottom it says what device it was sent from. I see how this works. One leaves and all the good stuff comes out. Man people always tell me the oldest is the one that is better off in the end cause of responsiblity, but I think we just get the bad end of everything. haha. Just joking. 

Well it sounds like Brenley had a super dope birthday. Wish I could have been there to eat all the pizza. I know it might appear as if I have eaten tons of pizza well it's cause I have, but pizza here in Spain, just is not the same. 

Yeah I have seen lots of things that the church has changed because of the world and because of members too. They way the chruch leaders have been talking and the things that we talk about in our mission confernce as of lately have made me think that some crazy things are about to go down in the world and it is going to test us all. In fact me and my companion were talking about how everyone in their life has to undergo some test like Abraham, when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. God wants our total will. He needs our agency. Are we willing to do everything he asks exactly? If not we better get there real quick. 

Well dad love you 

Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter to Mom

Yep, you know it was a good day when you are just beat. Best feeling in the world is when you hit the pillow and you just feel everything you did during the day. Well I had a lot of random emails to answer today for my birtdhay so, I don´t have lot of time but thanks for writing me even though you are beat dead. 

This week was just an awesome week to follow a baptism. We found 13 new investigators and 3 families and that never happens. If I am lucky I will see two more baptisms before I leave hear. Lleida is on fire. Sorry I forgot the pictures but we have had a weird preperation day.

Love you mom

Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter from 2/2/2015

Hey Dad,

Thanks for the birthday wishes. Well it is weird to say I am 20. Don´t know if I will ever ge use to it especially when I left home at 18. Yep bautsimo = exito. The 20 year old Spanish dude went down. It was probably one of the two most special baptisms I have seen. Because you just know without a doubt that they are going to be studs in the church and this kid will be a stake president some day. In fact he will probably go on a mission within a year. 

Thats good that things were mellow for the sports last week considering that they are usuallally busy. Of course Cole and Wyatt just go and give some older kids a run for their money. That is just how it works when you are gifted like that. Wish I could have seen it though, it would have been pretty dope. I miss watching him play lo que sea. 

The Hawks almost had it. My comapnions dad said that it was probably the worst play to call in the super bowl ever and for that they lost. 

We had a super good week here. In fact president called us this morning and was a like great job. You guys are really changing the area there cause for two weeks in a row we had met pautas de excelencia and we had a baptism last week. So he was super happy with all that. The area we are in hasn´t done that in a long time.

Well thanks for everything dad love you.


Elder Blake Billingsley 

Letter to Mom

Well first off thanks for the birthday wishes it is super wierd to not be an age with a teen at the end of it. Don´t know if I will be able to get use to that. And well the face wash is working super. Okay as for pizza, some how I alwyas get roped into getting pizza so if I don´t have money on my card it would be better. I have money, but we have just been eating a ton of pizza and that gets a little expensive. I am swearing off the pizza. It´s just when we get together as a district or a zone we always go get pizza and it really is the worst . I am actually sick of it and the pizza here is really not that good. Maybe that's why I'm so fat-it's all the pizza. 

On the 28th me and my companion had to take some elders to their new area cause they white washed it which means putting two new elders in instead of just one. And they didn´t now where anything was at so we got up at like 5 in the morning to catch a 2 hour bus and take them to the border of France and they went and met members and our bus didn´t leave till like 5 that afternoon to get back here in Lleida so we ate at a hotel cause it is a small town and there is nothing there. We actually ate some super good food. Three course meal and the main dish was wild goat. Super good. Once in a lifetime. Middle of no where eating at a hotel. 

Well this week in Lleida is a super big week cause we baptized a Catalan kid on saturday who is 20. The entire ward just about was there. It was one of the coolest baptisms ever. I will send pictures next week of the baptism. I just dont have my camara with me I forgot it in my piso. 

Well I can honestly say that it is freakin weird to be 20. Birthday´s arn't really that big of a deal for me but I feel so weird I think because I know that I don´t have much time left here in the mission and when I get home and see you guys again I wont be 18 or 19. 

Well love you mom

Elder Blake Billingsley