Monday, January 27, 2014

Here are some pictures he sent on 1/27/2014.

 This was his District in Barcelona.
 A family who took care of the Missionaries in Barcelona.
 A picture of a Castle from his train ride to Bilbao.
 A couple pictures from the beautiful City of Bilbao.

He called this his humble apartment.  Missionary sleeping quarters.
 I must say he looks good and is working hard and having fun serving the Lord!!!
These last few are from a trip to the mountains near Santander a member took them on for P-day.

This is a little out of order but a really good letter. He sounds like he and his companion are sick right now.

Hey Mom,

Sorry I haven´t been able to write you the past two days. I had a head cold over the weekend and Elder Magallanes ate some bad eggs and got really sick so I was with him in our piso all day on Monday. Yesterday I was in Bilboa on intercambios or exchanges, we had interviews with President also while we were there. All I can say is Bilbao is freaking beautiful.
Last night in Bilbloa with one of the Lideres de Zona Elder Rupa we taught a lady from Nigeria who is being baptized this week. We taught her in the bishops home and he doesn´t speak ingles so we had to do a lot of translating because she speaks ingles. We taught the law of chastity and the law of wisdom. wow! That was one of the best lessons I have been a part of. She has done some things in the past that she doesn´t want to do anymore and never wanted to do in the first place but me and Elder Rupa walked out of their mind blown by how much we could feel the spirit. The bishop and his wife were actually crying and so was this lady from Nigiera named Elizabeth. it was really weird to teach in ingles but it was an awesome lesson.

I hope everyone is doing good. Love you all.

Love, Elder Blake Billingsley 

Blake's Letter 1/27/2013 from Santander

Letter to DAD:


Well the work here in Santander is defiantly busy. We did have one morning were we knocked on like just over 200 doors and got 1 new investigator out of it. He still thinks we have like 5 wives. He was joking around with us but was actually a little serious about it. We are working with a long list of in actives, after meeting with the Bishop a couple of times to here about the number of inactive people here is ridiculous. The active members are always helping us out and that is great.

(This part has been deleted because Blake takes a jab at his old Dad being old since he "Blake" is turning 19 in a week).

The roomer around here is that we might get a glimpse of I pads and face book type stuff in February during our specialized training. It is suppose to be two days long so nobody really knows what is going to happen. We are all still hoping. That would mean carrying around less stuff for us, which kills us. I am defiantly going to need a massage or something when I get back or a lot of them. The missionary work is really getting better, in our mission we have a goal of 30 baptisms a week which would give us like 1500 baptisms for the year. This last week was the closest we were, we hit 29 baptisms and have 60 something for the month. That is not good enough President Pace is always saying, "You guys are doing good but you can do better". 

Love, Elder Billingsley

Letter to MOM:


I know it is crazy for me to think that I am turning 19 and I am in Spain. I still havent gotten down the fact that I am in another country. It still feels like I got here yesterday. Well if my package is in the office today I will get it on Wednesday because the lideres de zona are in Barcelona for concilio because we have zone enfouqe on Wednesday. If not I will get it in 2 weeks when we have specialzed training. Oh well I will get it either way. 

The Elders quorum comes out with us and we do splits at least once a week so we can get more done. I don´t know what it is exactly but there are just good members here. We talk with the bishop about who we need to be visiting and stuff, but the best way to kind of bring a ward together and fix those problems that people have had in their lives and the things they have done that they shouldnt have is through missionary work. And that is the big push here. 

Love Elder Billingsley

Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas card Blake sent of him and his district.

Here is the Christmas card that Blake took and sent to us.  This is with his companion and a couple of the Elders that live with him and were in his district in Barcelona.  He had a great Christmas and thanks to all who sent cards, letters and packages he was so glad to receive them and felt loved during the Christmas season.  He told us at Christmas that that was the best Christmas he has ever had.

Blake was transfered to Santander on the Atlantic Coast. He took a 6 hour train ride to Bilbao and then 2 hours on the bus. He loves it!!

This is now the up to date letters:

Holy cow Santander is beautiful. It isn´t huge like Barcelona but there are still tons of people here. So we missed the train and we went back to the piso I was in which is on the other side of Barcelona from the train station so we just chilled there over night and woke up at like 5 to get to the train station to catch our train. Dragging luggage through the metro system stinks and we had a 6 hour train ride to Bilbao then we had a two hour bus ride to Santander. It was a freaking long day and dealing with bags stinks. I don´t know how people do it here. I guess they just don´t move when they find a place they really like. My companions name is Elder Perez and he is from Chile so is the other guy I came here with his name is Elder Soumartt. The other guy I live with is Elder Magallanes. He is from Argentina. they understand some English but really it´s only Spanish that is spoken so sometimes it is difficult to communicate but not that bad. The best part about this place is that they only speak Spanish here none of the other weird languages they have in Spain. 

You guys can just send a package to the office in Barcelona and it will get to me. I might not have it for my birthday but I will at least have it two weeks after which isn´t a big deal. I just don´t want to have to deal with a package coming to my piso. The piso I am in is huge compared to the last one. The only thing is that it is super old even though the building looks brand new. 

Wow the ward here in Santander is amazing. the members here are the best. I loved Barcelona but I love Santander even more. We somehow fit 130 members into a little tiny branch building form when the ward use to be a branch. lucky for them the are starting to build a chapel in April  I think. the Bishop is a Spaniard which is really hard to find around here. There aren´t to many Spaniards in the church. 

We walk everywhere here and to get to the pueblos we take buses when we have money for it but lucky we can get it reimbursed or we would run out of money. On the bus ride out here form Bilbao it was along the coast the whole way so it was really awesome. We have to take a bus twice a month to Bilbao to go for zone confrence and meetings with president. 

The thing about Santander is that there are a ton of menos activos so we visit a ton of members and recent converts and try to keep people coming. so we really haven´t taught like lessons to investigators this last week but we do have a few lined up for this week. but we stay really busy. like yesterday we left piso at 9 to pick some people up and get them to church and we didn´t get back till 10. we never had time to go back to piso. Santander is the perfect example for how missionary´s and the ward need to work together.

I love that book you guys sent me. I think it is called something about the atonement I can´t remember how it is called  but it has some good stuff in it that makes you think about what Jesus did for us and how much are Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ love us.

Love Elder Blake Billingsley

Letter from Blake on 12/9/2013 Great expereince with a blessing he gave to a lady with cancer.


Sometimes I wish I had snow days here when that alarm clock goes of in the morning but as soon you get going you are ready do go for the day. Then the night hits and the last 3 hours go so slow. Oh well its all fun. 
 I can´t believe I have been gone for 3 months already. It seems like I just left yesterday. 

So we have a few new investigators this week. A lady named Wendy and then we have a guy and his wife that have a little baby. For the most part all of our investigators are women it is kind of weird, but other than that all of our investigators failed us this week and didn't show up to church. The lady we had a baptism date with we haven´t been able to contact all week and she has just dropped off the face of the earth. 

So there is this one lady who was baptized like 3 or 4 months ago, and she has had cancer and lung problems and her daughter has been super against her joining the church. She has just had a really bad time. One night she was really sick and we gave here a blessing. The next day she had to go in and have some tests done for all here sickness stuff. Well the results came back she doesn't have cancer anymore and here lung problem went away. Then all of a sudden her daughter started coming with her to activities so we are hoping to be able to teach her daughter to. 

This week I ate dinner with this older couple from France. They have to be the richest people I have ever met. They live on the 21st floor of this building right on the beach. The view was crazy, I had this stuff called jamon which is really good and they just fed us some rally expensive food. It was kind of a cool experience.

So everything is good here. not much new happening.

Love, Elder Billingsley

Blake and his comapnions made ThanksGiving for themselves. Looks pretty good.

Pasta and something else?
                                Looks like some eggs scrambled with veggies and tortillas ?

Good old Missionary Thanksgiving. 

Letter from Barcelona 11/18/2013

It´s always good to be busy at work right? Well at least for my companion and I we have been busy but still just street contacting and trying to get into buildings to knock on doors. It has become hard the last couple days with all the rain we have been getting. I swear every day we are just  contacting and if we have one or two appointments they usually cancel on us. There was this one lady who canceled on us 3 times this week but we finally met with here on Saturday. It ended up being an awesome lesson. We barley taught anything because she stole the words from our mouths. It was awesome and here son was there. I think he is sixteen so we are going to try and work on him really hard because if we get him interested she will really be interested. 
I think that all the Elders in my zone are going to try and get together today and either do a turkey bowl or try to do some dodge ball in the gym because it is raining so hard. We really wanted to do a turkey bowl for thanksgiving right before transfers next week before people leave but I think its going to be dodge ball oh well. 

So yesterday after church I had my favorite Spanish dish I think, and I don´t think another one will beat it. We ate Paella at a members house.  It was so freaking good. She gave me to freaking huge plates of it, like they were huge. Then she brings me a plate of this huge chicken leg and thigh with like a curry flavor and 4 potatoes. After that she brought us a plate of grapes and then she gave us gello for a dessert. I don´t think I have ever eaten so much food. I didn´t need to eat dinner last night.

I can say that there are days that seem like weeks and weeks that seem like days but so far this has been a really fast transfer. Everyone tells me they just go faster and faster even if you are have a tough transfer. So I guess we will see how the rest of it goes. Hopefully we can get some work going in our area this next week.

Love Elder Billingsley

A few pictures Blake sent from Barcelona along with the pictures of his first baptism!!!

                                                    Out making contacts working hard!
                                                            Driving around Barcelona.
                                                                        A Castle
                                                                    Familia Sagrada
                                                                       First baptism

Letters from Blake November 11/12/2013


Sorry I am writing on Tuesday. We had a specialzed traing with another zone so our p day was swithched to today. Vegas sounds like it was a blast, I am definitly  going some time when I get back,  but for now I am having fun here. It is a freaking roller coaster. We get some things going and then all of a sudden it´s like everthing blows up and you are like what the heck we have nothing. So you have to start from ground zero again. It is so crazy.

 I have already seen the changes a mission can make in you. It has made me look at things differently and you learn to be a little more compassionate. I know that there are so many more things you can learn from being out here. Although living with a bunch of dudes gets olds.
This past week my companion and I just contacted I think everyday for pretty much the whole day. Whenever we could get into a building we would knock on every door we could. One night we were looking for a menos activo and the door we knocked on in this building was the right door but she didn´t live their anymore. There was this guy from Ecuador who was baptized a member back in Ecuador but has lived in Spain for the last eight years not going to church so hoppefully we can work with him and his girlfriend who isn´t a member. 

I still have a hard time with the language and still catch myself zoning out because I have no clue what is going on, but everyday I am improving I hope. My companion says I am. My pronunciation is pretty good when I read I just need to learn words and conjugate now. 

Love Elder Billingsley

I am glad you and Dad had fun in Vegas, it sounded fun. Living here is interesting, I actually kind of feel Closter phobic. The piso living is driving me nuts living on top of everyone. There are so many people in Barcelona. Metros and buses are packed like sardine cans. Everyone says that Sundays are the days missionary's work hard but here you try to but people usually don´t like to have missionary's over on Sundays and the streets are empty. People are either gone or just don´t want to do anything so Sundays are one of the most difficult days to do anything. 
Yep I bought a couple of sweaters. I got regular a v neck sweater for like 7 euros and a half zip one for like 15 euros. They are both really nice but I think the half zip was my favorite, and when I bought them it was a holiday apperently so the store was picked over as far as color. They are both like a shade of grey. Hopefully I can find like a black one somewhere for pretty cheap. 

I have a crazy story that I will write you and dad in a letter, it will blow your minds!

Love, Elder Billingsley.