Monday, December 30, 2013


Hello family and friends,

Here is Bethani's latest post. Please email me if you need her mailing address...the address she gave me last is incorrect, I have the correct one now. (

Thank you for your continued support of Hermana Holloway, otherwise known as Herman A. Holloway. I really appreciate it and I know it strengthens her.




First of all, I'd like to give a big shoutout to everyone that sent me letters, packages, or Christmas cards. I was just overwhelmed by the amount of love, often from people that I hadn't seen in a while! Thank you so much! I promise I'll respond to all the mail you send me, even if it takes a little while.

This place is just so amazing! I though I would be sad serving in English, but Weatherford is the best of both worlds. We still have some Spanish members and investigators, and teaching in English is SO much easier than teaching in Spanish. We're way out in the country, which means that you can see the stars, and everyone loves fried food, guns, and trucks. I've even started to like country music! Basically, these people have become my people. It was hard to be away from my family for the Christmas season, but everyone here has taken me in and made me feel like family. I absolutely love the people I serve.

This is what my Christmas looked like:

On Christmas Eve we ate dinner with the other missionaries and a family in the ward, and afterwards we washed their dishes and decorated temple cookies!

Then on Christmas morning, instead of doing normal exercise we exercised our arms and opened Christmas presents ;) Thanks family for the regales!

And this was our Christmas dinner! The family that had us (us sisters and one other set of elders from the ward) over gave us stockings that had fake mustaches in them (among other things), so we decided to add that to the nativity. It was... interesting to say the least. But also really fun.

The highlight of my Christmas was definitely the phone call that I had with my family. It was super strange to dial Mom's cell number into our phone, but once I started talking it was like I was back at college again! It was great to hear all y'all's voices again for sure.

The rest of the week was just full of miracles. We found some new Spanish investigators, had a rockin-awesome district meeting about consecration, taught a recent convert about the temple, one of our less-active members hasn't smoked for a month, and then to cap it off, a former investigator randomly came to church and wants us to start teaching him again! We weren't really expecting so much to happen because of the holidays, but the Lord told us otherwise and, as usual, helped us to be in the right places at the right time. The work is moving forward in Oklahoma!

Yesterday in my personal study I was reading in Alma 34, and I was just amazed by everything I was reading. verses 30-41 are especially great, and especially especially verse 31. It tells us rather plainly why we should not put off repentance. Alma says that "now is the day and time of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you." We don't have to be finished with the repentance process to feel the redeeming power of the Atonement, rather we are promised that if we make the decision to repent, we will immediately feel Christ's redeeming power. The Atonement really is the greatest gift that the Savior has given us, and I'm so grateful for it.

I love you all!! Thank you for your prayers, support, and mail. Being a missionary is seriously such a blessing. I hope y'all have a good week, and keep focusing on the miracles.

~Herman A. Holloway

Merry Christmas!/Crazy Oklahoma Weather/I live in Radiator Springs

I'm an indecisive titler. There were just so many highlights of this week! I guess I'll go through them one by one:
HIGHLIGHT #1: MELE KALIKIMAKA!! FELIZ NAVIDAD!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Hey guys! Christmas is this week!! Even though it's my first Christmas EVER away from my family (sniff) I'm still super excited because I'll still get to talk to my favoritest of hobbits on the phone! Woo hoo!!
HIGHLIGHT #2: We had Christmas Zone Conference this Saturday, but we had ice storms predicted on Friday night. So we decided to drive up on Friday in order to not drive on ice all the way to the city (which is a good 50 miles away). We left just as the freezing rain started. So we drive for an hour and a half in freezing rain! Luckily we got there safely, had an AMAZING conference, then stayed one more night with some sisters in OKC and drove back just in time for church on Sunday! It was an adventure for sure! (PS I wanted to put pictures here, but the computer I'm on is super ghetto and just crashed on me so I'll have to do them next week when we can email at the SWOSU library instead of the public one)
HIGHLIGHT #3: Weatherford is just like Radiator Springs. Adorable small town with like 2 stoplights along route 66? check! I'll have to take more pictures so y'all can see how cute it is! Also, it's a Spanglish area, which means we're in charge of everyone in Weatherford and the Spanish in Clinton. And we translate Sacrament meeting for the Spanish families. AKA party.
HIGHLIGHT #4: Our Christmas Zone Conference was just amazing. Not only did we get 2 free meals and ice cream, but we also were really spiritually fed! One of the things that President Walkenhorst talked about was D&C 58:26. Basically, the Lord has given us brains for a reason! If we expect Him to tell us everything that we need to do every minute of every day, then we'll sit there twiddling out thumbs and never get anything done and learn nothing. Rather, He expects us to go out there and use our best judgement and WORK! The purpose of this life is to be able to learn from our own experiences, right? And how can we do that if we don't experience anything, including unpleasant things like pain, failure, and disappointment? Ultimately, if we trust in the Lord and try our best to do His will we will succeed, but that doesn't mean that all along the way will be smooth sailing. We are promised that if we have faith we can move mountains, but don't be surprised that the Lord gives you a shovel to do it. :) Faith without works is DEAD! Also, if you want to read an amazing story about faith, go to Alma 14. Alma and Amulek really had to trust that the Lord saw the big picture when they couldn't. What a powerful chapter.
This silly computer is going to time out soon, but I love all y'all and I hope you have an amazing Christmas full of peace and love and a focus on the Savior, because ultimately that's what Christmas is all about.
Les quiero!
Hermana Holloway

Frozen tree post ice storm.

Selfie by a frozen tree. Might be my first selfie ever.

Frozen car (we'd scraped off most of the ice but you can see how thick it is on the mirror. That's what we were driving through).

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm getting transferred!!!!!

Hello Family and Friends,

If you would like Bethani's new address, please email me at 

If you haven't already sent her a Christmas card...I'm sure she would LOVE to hear from you!!!




FIRST of all, I traced my family tree back to Adam. Yep. You're jealous.

The only downside to this is it means that there's no chance that I'm like Superman and came from a different planet. Cuz that would've been sweet.

SECOND of all, I found Holloway corner! I wonder if we're related. This was in Purcell.

THIRD of all, this is my last P-Day in Norman! On Wednesday I'm shipping out to Weatherford, OK, which is about an hour and a half west of the city. The funny thing about Weatherford is that Hna Crockett left Weatherford so that she could train me. So my companion will be one of her old companions! How awesome is that? Plus she already knows like everyone there so I'll get to bring them letters from her so they'll automatically like me :). I'm super excited to go. I'll miss Norman because we opened it so it's kind of like my baby, but I'll keep in touch with the people here and will most likely come back. A lot of missionaries end up going back to Norman.

But ANYWAYS this week was kind of crazy, as they all are. Here's the MIRACLE OF THE WEEK: (I really like this whole you-can-change-the-font-size-thing) So we got this referral in Purcell from the Elders that work down there in English like 2 months ago. We've been knocking the door every time we go to Purcell but nobody's ever answered. We were about to give up on these people. Finally, on Wednesday, we knocked the door one last time (we really wanted to just give up on them)... and they weren't home. As we were walking away we saw this truck that had Mexicans in it and pulled in front of that house. So we went back and knocked again! And! Maribel opened the door! And she and her husband are so nice and so prepared and we gave them a Book of Mormon and they have us tostadas and queso fresco (If you don't know what queso fresco is you need to repent of your wickedness and buy some. You're welcome.) IT WAS AMAZING. (that wasn't enough emphasis...) IT WAS AMAZING!! But seriously now. Don't give up on people. Heavenly Father might be just trying your faith and if you persevere, miracles will happen!

So this week in district meeting my district leader gave us a training on keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Let me tell you, it was INSPIRED. We haven't been able to get any investigators to church the whole time we've been here in Norman, and without going to church they aren't able to feel the Spirit as strongly or really gain that spiritual confirmation that they're looking for. Basically, going to church is SUMAMENTE IMPORTANTE. In our society today the Sabbath day has become just like any other day, but this is not how the Lord intended it. He gave us the Sabbath to be a day of rest. Isn't that just great to think about? The Almighty knows that we need rest, so He provided us a way to set aside the things of the world for a day and just focus on Him. Hna. Crockett has this cute analogy that the week being like trekking through a hot, horrible desert and then Sunday is the day when we find the oasis. It's TOTALLY true though. I took church for granted when I was at home, but I've had a couple of experiences here that have helped me realize that we need the rest and peace that the attending church brings. I have so much more calmness and clarity in my life when I go to church. It's amazing :). The church is true :).

Well, that's about all I got for this week. I love you all and thank you for you love, support, gifts, letters, emails, smoke signal messages (I'm still working on interpreting those so if I don't get back to you in a while please understand), and carrier pigeons! You are all wonderful and I just hope you know how much I LOVE my Savior and how GRATEFUL I am for this opportunity to serve this mission and do His work. This isn't really work, it's a blessing, and my life would not be the same without it. 

Love you! 
Herman A. Holloway

PS: These videos are awesome. The first one especially impacted me because the people in it are exactly the people we work with and teach! I love them so much!

PPS: One of my favorite families! (and some of my favorite missionaries)

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!!


It snowed!!! And apparently people in Oklahoma don't know how to use snow plows or salt trucks so now all the roads are frozen solid. Fantastic. On Thursday and Friday we couldn't use our cars because of the roads which is a little difficult because we live about 3 miles from our area. So we walked everywhere we went (which wasn't very many places...) and tried to do some work but it was very challenging. On Friday we still had district meeting so we all walked to the church. We only live like a mile away so that was fine. It was just cold. Then after district meeting we had a massive snowball fight! My compa took some great pictures but because I can only send like 2 an email these are the ones you get:

The Elders creeping in the doorway of the Sister's apartment because they can't go in. They don't usually look so serious, trust me.

And this is me about to peg an unsuspecting Elder IN THE FACE!! In all seriousness, though, I probably missed. My aim is terrible.

And this is me about to peg an unsuspecting Elder IN THE FACE!! In all seriousness, though, I probably missed. My aim is terrible.

'Twas great fun. We finally got to drive again on Saturday and it should warm up again tomorrow so weatherwise we should be fine. I know you were all worried. I'm starting to acclimate to the cold again, which is good. I feel less like a wimp now.

In other news, WE'RE TEACHING A FAMILY!!!!!!!! Woo hoo!!! We went over to see the Ramirez family on Wednesday and we had a Family Home Evening with them. It was fantastic. We gave them all copies of the Book of Mormon and we got Jose a big one because he has trouble seeing. Mom, remember that green ribbon you sent me in my greenie package? Well I used it to tie around the Book of Mormons that we gave out and they all loved it. It was great to show people how the Book of Mormon really is a precious gift. I have high hopes for the Ramirez family. They are SO humble and SO teachable. They've been waiting for the gospel, I can tell. I'm starting to feel they joy described in D&C 18:15-16: "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" There is so much joy in this work!

I watched this Mormon Message this week and it really hit me (probably because I'm totally in mission mode): 

It makes me think about things that have eternal value. There's a quote from President Hinckley (I saw it in the Relief Society room in Spanish, so bear with me) that says something to the effect of if what we're doing doesn't have eternal significance, then why are we doing it? I think that one of the best ways that Satan tricks us is to get us to waste our time here. We might not be doing anything horrible, but we're not doing what we need to do to progress. Thus, we waste our time on earth. In missionary work, everything we do is centered around our purpose of "inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel". What if everything that we did was centered around OUR purpose as human beings, which is to keep the commandments of God so that we can be worthy to inherit eternal life? What would we stop doing, and which activities would we start doing? Would some things that seem so important right now cease to be so critical? This life is the time to PREPARE to meet God. 

I hope y'all are enjoying your holiday season and you got a chance to see the 1st Presidency Christmas devotional! If you didn't then watch it: 

It was SO GOOD!

I love you!! I love being a missionary!! The church is TRUE and life is GOOD!!

Herman A. Holloway

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving...Mexican Style

ALOOOOOOHA!!! And happy Thanksgiving to y'all!! This is the turkey that my comp and I made to recognize the things that we're thankful for. As you can see, all we had was yellow and pink paper. So he (the turkey) is pretty ostentatious.

This Thanksgiving was a little different than usual but still enjoyable. We started out with a district breakfast at Donut King (not the first choice, but McDonald's was closed) where I ate a glazed sandwich, which was basically a donut cut in half with eggs, cheese, and bacon on it. It was really delicious. Then the Elders went to the Turkey Bowl with the English wards and we did studies like normal and visited the Santos family in their new trailer park. It's pretty far up north, but we had a bunch of miles for some reason, and it was great to see them. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner with the Ochoas (Branch President and family). We had turkey, stuffing, pasta salad, candied ham, papas rellenas (like a baked potato with all the potato scooped out then mixed with bacon and cheese, put back in the skins and fried. Yum.), and, of course, jalapenos. It was a good dinner and the Ochoas are awesome people! So although it was a different Thanksgiving it was still a really good one. We actually ended up going to McDonald's after that and getting McFlurries to fill in the cracks after Thanksgiving dinner... Elder Barrett really wanted ice cream.

The rest of the week was super awesome too! We had exchanges, and I got the chance to work outside of my area for the first time. I went to Noble and taught in English! It was a really good experience, and I learned a lot from my Sister Training Leader about working hard and being diligent and talking to EVERYONE! It can be pretty daunting to do that, but that's what the Lord expects of His missionaries! 

On Saturday we had such an awesome miracle! We went back to see Jose (the one who lives in the sketchy trailers off the freeway) and he was totally open to talking to us again. We were sitting on his porch, then his daughter Olga comes out and invites us to come inside. Well we had to leave soon, but we were able to go inside and pray with Jose, Olga, and Olga's daughter before we left. The Spirit was so strong, and we set up a time to come and have a family home evening with them!! It's just amazing what humble, genuine people they are. They don't have a lot of things, but they have what matters most, namely their family and the Lord. I have high hopes for the Ramirez family and I'm super excited for our FHE!

Other than that we've been doing a lot of knocking. We knock and we knock and we knock and hope somebody will listen to us. There aren't many that will, but there are always the miracles according to our faith and diligence! I know the Lord is in this work and softening the hearts of the people here. I'm so grateful to serve in Norman. I love the people, I love Spanish, and I love the other missionaries!

I started the Book of Mormon in Spanish because I haven't really read it through in Spanish. (I study the Book of Mormon a lot... but that's just because it's basically the best book ever!) One of the things that's really jumped out at me lately is how awesome Nephi is! All of the experiences that he has are just so incredible and he really exemplifies the fact that in the strength of the Lord we can do ALL things. The Lord doesn't ask us to be strong or knowledgable or charitable or awesome by ourselves! All He asks is that we be humble and willing to trust Him completely and walk by faith so that He can guide us. Sometimes I think that walking by faith is a bit like being at the end of a long, windey tunnel. You can only see the faintest glimmer of light, but as you keep moving forward and placing one foot in front of the other the light grows and grows until you can see the end and the reason why you were on the journey in the first place. It's definitely not an easy thing to do, probably because we all have the pride that we can just do everything on our own, but it is ultimately worth it and by walking by faith the Lord strengthens us and uses us for His divine purposes.

In other news, Oklahoma weather makes no sense. If you ever get bored with it just wait 5 minutes. Last week it snowed and this week it's been in the 60s.

I think that's all I have to say. Keep it up with the mail and prayers! I appreciate it SOOO much!! Love you all and I hope you have a lovely week and that the beginning of your holiday season is all you want it to be.

Con cariño,
Hermana Holloway

Parking in trailer parks on speed bumps...

Spiritually Feasting/Strange Tacos

This week was SO AMAZING. A ton of stuff happened, but I want to focus on the last couple of days because they were AMAZING TO THE MAX!!!! 

So we had a visit from Elder Craig A. Cardon, who is a member of the Seventy (in the organization of the church they work under the direction of the 1st presidency and apostles to administer the church in the different parts of the world). He came and spoke to us at mission conference on Thursday (which was actually only half of the mission because we have too many missionaries. High class probs), at Stake Conference Saturday night, and at Stake Conference on Sunday. My FIRST impression when he started speaking was that his words had POWER. I could really feel the Spirit bearing witness that he was on the Lord's errand! The theme of all of these conferences was hastening the work of salvation. At mission conference he reminded us of the sacred nature of our calls and that the Lord has promised us blessings and He will keep those promises! We also talked a lot about the gathering of Israel and how it's happeningright now. We are all part of it!

Stake conference was all about member missionary work! On this subject I'd like to quote from my friend Meghan Maddock's weekly email because she put this much better than I could have ever done:


Math time!
What does the first fraction mean? Out of every 1000 doors a
missionary knocks on, on average, 1 of those people will be baptized.
And the second fraction? Out of every 1000 referrals a missionary
receives, where the member personally introduces their friend, is
present when their friend is taught, and invites their friend to be
taught in their home... 670, on average, are baptized. Over 2/3.
(These statistics come from my zone leader, from an official church
study. And even if the numbers aren't exactly right, the principle
behind them definitely is)

Those numbers speak for themselves. And as a missionary, of course I
will continue to work and I will contact 100000 people, if that's what
it takes. But we need you, members of the church. More than you know.
This is the time. The Lord is hastening His work. It's time not just
to work hard, but to work smart. And, to be frank, without the
members, our work is not smart. You are the core of real missionary
work. You introduce them, you are their friends, you are their
support, you're still there when we're transferred after a few months.
All we do is teach a little.

But this isn't just about the numbers and being smart. It's about
people. It's about helping them come unto Christ. It's about giving
them knowledge that will change their lives. It's about helping them
come to know their Heavenly Father. And forgive me if I'm being a bit
bold, but for those of you who are members of the church, you have at
least one friend who you're thinking of right now. So tell them.
Invite them. If you don't know where to start, call your local
missionaries. They can help you, and they will be thrilled. And for
those of you that aren't members? I bet you know at least one Mormon
(other than me). Ask them what we're all about. You'll like what you

It's so true!! We've been finding like nobody's business, but while our own finding efforts work, member missionary works SO MUCH BETTER!!

At Stake Conference, the members were given 2 invitations to act:

1. Pray for missionary experiences. Miracles will happen if you do, I guarantee it!
2. Associate with people who aren't members of the church! You should't do so robotically with the lone intention of getting them to come to church, just try to make friends with people of other faiths. Sometimes as Mormons we don't do that, and that's a mistake. We're members of the church, yes, but first and foremost we're all children of the same Heavenly Father!

And here are some more ways that we can hasten the work of salvation:
  1. become totally converted
  2. teach the gospel at home
  3. be good examples of love at home
  4. develop true charity
  5. be socially interactive with neighbors
  6. forgive one another
  7. doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith!
  8. refrain from unrighteous judgment about things you don't understand
  9. invite others to come unto Christ
  10. use faith as a principle of power (Ether 12:12)
  11. respect other's agency and love them unconditionally
It was just incredible. I feel inspired and uplifted, and I hope I was able to inspire y'all a little bit.

Now moving away from the spiritual bit a little... WE EAT SO MANY TACOS!!! And mostly they don't make sense. Hispanics will make any kind of food, and then throw corn tortillas on the table. And, because we're still eating Sister Santos's food, we eat a lot of corn tortillas too. So here are the strange tacos we've eaten this week:

  • BBQ chicken and mashed potato tacos
  • meatloaf and mashed potato tacos
  • hot dog tacos
  • spicy beef hot links tacos
  • frosting tacos and
  • (my favorite) cake tacos
So that last one came about because the Santos family bought Sister Crockett a cake for her birthday (which was yesterday) so what do we do? We make tacos out of it! Yay!

Love you all!!!!!

Hermana Holloway

Hot dog tacos!

Beautiful Tree

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Loaves and Fishes!

Funny story time!
Sorry, I mean ALOHA and HOLA and HOWDY!
Ok, now funny story time. So Hna. Santos moved her trailer this week, which means all of the food in her fridge needed to go somewhere. She decided to live Elder Nelson's statement of "ask the missionaries! They can help you!" and brought all of it to our apartment. This is what our fridge normally looks like:

... And this is what it looked like after she gave us all her food:

We had to tape our freezer closed because there was a ton of food there too. On top of that she said to eat all we could, so we've been eating a lot of tortillas and beans and other assorted Mexican food. Definitely livin the good life :).
I don't have tons of time, so I'll just tell you a couple of miracles that happened this week (besides all of the food that we got to eat).
#1: We were trying to contact a potential investigator at this strange circle of trailers off the freeway (the same place where we ate chicken with the random Mexican men) who once again wasn't there. However, his neighbors looked Hispanic so we went over to talk to them. We asked the kids running around if we could talk to some adult figure, and they brought out their grandpa, José. We didn't even get through asking if we could share a message when he started pulling out chairs so we could platicar (talk) on the porch (becuase it was randomly like 80º outside... no complaints here!). We shared the Book of Mormon with him and talked about eternal families, and he talked about how he really wanted to change but hadn't found a church that he really fit with yet. We have high hopes for him!

#2: So we only have 800 miles a month on the car, which adds up to about 25 miles a day. Well Hna Crockett and I have definitely been using more than that all month so we've been getting kind of worried because a lot of the solid people are outside of Norman and we just don't have the miles for it. We track our miles everyday, and yesterday I calculated to see how many more we had per day. We still had 24! We have NO idea where those came, but every time we check there's more than we expected and just enough for us to do the work that we need to do. I believe that Heavenly Father is looking out for us because He understands our needs and circumstances and wants to make it possible for us to do our work! So just like the loaves and fishes of Bible times, He is multiplying our miles!
#3: The OU (Oklahoma University) Singles ward sisters had a baptism last night. His name is Tucker and they only met him 3 weeks ago! Apparently he showed up to church on Sunday and by Wednesday was already planning his baptism! Talk about prepared!

This week I've been studying diligence, and one scripture that I found that I loved is in Moroni 9:6. There are such amazing promised blessings in this scripture! The Lord wants laborers who are willing to work HARD, so let's do it!
Sorry this one is kind of short, but just know that I love all of you and pray for you often. Have a wonderful week and always remember who you are and what you stand for!
Hermana Holloway
PS: "God does not begin by asking about our ability, but only about our availability. And if we prove our dependability, He will increase your capability."

Monday, November 11, 2013

I (almost) survived my first transfer!!!

ALOOOOOOOOOOHA!! and HOOOOOOOLAA!! people on the receiving end of my missionary thoughts and experiences!!

Let's start out with some pictures:

So I have a story for this one. Once upon a time Hermana Holloway decided to make hardboiled eggs. Well because the stove is really dumb and is either not hot at all or a blazing inferno the eggs only got halfway hardboiled. Sort of like eggy soup. Blech. Hermana Crockett didn't want to waste some perfectly good eggs so she decided to make "bried" eggs by frying the halfway boiled eggs until they cooked. This was the result. Basically it was just weird. But funny :)

We found these friends in the middle of nowhere trying to find a potential investigator between Lexington and Noble. They weren't home, but we got a glimpse of their Thanksgiving dinner! They also randomly had a peacock which I don't really understand but it's Oklahoma. 

But anyways, this week was AMAZING!!! Definitely full of hard work, fun, and miracles. I've decided that being a missionary is a lot like being a detective. Or a stalker. But I like to think of a detective because it sounds nicer. For example, on Friday we got the records of a bunch of former investigators from like 7 years ago that all live in Purcell so on Saturday we decided to go find them. We discovered that a lot had moved or their houses had turned into parking lots or are now under the protection of the Fidelius Charm (for more information on this please refer to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). We found one guy, who got super weirded out when we called him by name. It was kind of funny, but we keep track of all of Heavenly Father's sheep! Basically Hna. Crockett and I had a lovely time driving around the tiny (and a little sketchy) town of Purcell. Southern life is definitely different from what I'm used to but I love it.

We also learned a valuable lesson about trailer parks. On Tuesday and Wednesday we decided that we were tired of trailer parks and wanted to try to find some Hispanics outside of them. BIG mistake. We knocked doors for hours encountering only non-Hispanics and rejection. Dejected, we returned back to the trailer parks and in a matter of an hour and a half we had 3 potentials and 3 new investigators! Moral of the story, trailer parks is where it's at. I never want to work outside of them again.

On a sad note, some of our favorite members are moving. They'll keep going to the branch, but it'll be a lot harder to keep up weekly dinners because they'll be so far away.

I think the biggest lesson that we've learned this week is patience. We want everything to happen according to our timeline but that's not how it works. Heavenly Father has a plan for our lives, our families, and the areas that we're serving in. As it says in D&C 123:17 "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren (or sisteren), let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed." I don't even think that I need to add to that!

Another spiritual tidbit: remember in the Joseph Smith movie (Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration) when they're building the Nauvoo Temple and Joseph Smith says "we're not really building a temple, the Lord is building us."? That line always went in one ear and out the other for me but now I realize what it means. The saints in Nauvoo spent years and years building the temple there only to abandon it a few weeks after it was completed. Was the point, therefore, really to build a temple? I don't think so. Rather, the Lord was teaching and building and refining His people so they would become the best versions of themselves. It's the same with missions. We're here for other people, no doubt. But the Lord is also using this as an opportunity to build and refine me. So when we face the rejection and the flaky people and the appointments that always fall through, we just have to remember that the Lord is building us. I would invite you all to take this statement and apply it to your lives. How is the Lord building you into the best version of yourself? How does that keep your trials and difficulties in perspective? Everything that we go through has a purpose and all of our trials are just and opportunity to change.

That's probably enough wisdom for one week. I don't want y'all to think that I'm no longer the goofy, awkward, strange person that I am. That hasn't gone away, trust me. I'm still very much looking forward to wearing pants and running around in a few hours. Yay P-Day!!! Yay pants!!!

I hope y'all have a lovely week as I know I will :). Thanks for the love, the letters, and the prayers. They are felt and SO appreciated. 

¡Les quiero mucho!

~Herman A. Holloway

PS: Oklahoma fall is pretty much the most amazing thing ever. It's been in the 60s and 70s all week! The fall leaves are pretty beautiful too.

Is the place of records far??

Aloha, Hola, and Howdy from Oklahoma!!!! This week has been wonderful as usual and la obra misional keeps rolling forward! This week was definitely a week full of miracles.

Milagro #1: The Santos family were the only people in attendance at our English class on Tuesday, and they brought an investigator with them. Hna C and I were all prepared to teach English to them, but it turns out that he just wanted to be taught the gospel! He sought out the Santos's to learn more about the church so we taught him La Restauración and he said that he believed everything that we said and he wants to study the Book of Mormon!! It's so awesome to find those golden investigators. That was definitely a blessing.

Milagro #2: We visited a less active woman and read Elder Uchtdorf's talk from last conference and she said that she felt like it was written directly for her and that she'd come to church! Granted, she didn't actually come to church, but it's a step in the right direction considering at the last visit she said that there was no way she'd go to church.

Milagro #3: Halloween!! We had to be in by 5, so we (myself and my companion) had a crazy missionary party, which involved eating tacos and popcorn, marking our Spanish scriptures, and watching The Testaments 2.5 times (PS I'm convinced that that movie is the reason why returned missionaries flirt so awkwardly. Just watch it and you'll understand. Also that's the inspiration for the title. Kind of a running joke with me and my compa now). If you ever wonder what missionaries do on their nights off, that's it. I'm pretty sure some Elders in our district had a corn dog eating contest. Classy.

Milagro #4: WE HAD SUCH AN AMAZING LESSON WITH EDNA!!! We taught her the Plan de Salvación, which was great because she's super big on family so she loved the part about how families are eternal. Also, she already loves the Book of Mormon as much as the Bible! She said that people need to give it a chance and not just reject because she sees how the two go hand and hand. It was so awesome! I wish we had more investigators like her. Every time we visit her I just get so happy. 

Milagro #5: WE GOT REJECTED!!!! WOO HOO!!!! You're probably wondering why this is a miracle, but most Hispanics are too nice to tell us that they're not interested in the evangelio so we end up coming back and trying to talk to them again while they keep avoiding us. But this one guy told us outright to not knock on his door again! It was so great!! Yay for honesty!

Milagro #6: So on Saturday we were planning on going to Purcell to visit people there but the Spanish Elders called us about 30 minutes before we wanted to leave to tell us that they needed the car to pick up and Elder who had had to fly to California for some medical tests. Great. It was actually a blessing in disguise because we got the Santos's to drive us all the way down there, and they were able to connect so well with the people in ways that we couldn't have because we're white and missionaries aren't really people. For example, the woman who lives in the trailer park without speed bumps is really interested, but her husband is convinced that missionaries are just going around looking for wives to steal. Like seriously. Come on dude, get with the times. BUT when he was talking to Hno. Santos his attitude changed from "I'm good with my church I don't even want to talk to you" to "maybe I'll come to your church someday". So awesome!

Milagro #7: Fall in Oklahoma is beautiful. Some days it still gets up to 80 degrees and the leaves are just barely changing colors. So even though it's chillier than Hawaii, I will survive hey hey!!!

I can't believe that I've already been here for a month. We're almost done with the transfer! Time has just flown by, but I love it. The people here are great, the other missionaries are awesome, and I LOVE studying and feeling the Spirit all the time! There are so many blessings that come with living this life. A lot of sacrifices too, but that's where the blessings come from and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks to everyone who sent me mail. It always makes me feel loved and special :). And it helps so much to know that I have support from everyone back home. Being a missionary would seriously be so much harder without that. Thank you for the prayers too!

Also, everyone should read Alma 7. It's so amazing to see what Christ and His Atonement has done for all of us. I'm so grateful for the influence of the Atonement in my life and the knowledge that if I repent and live the Gospel that I can be forgiven of all of my sins and return to my Heavenly Father again. That's the essence and beauty of the message that we have for people. We want them to come unto Christ and repent and we do it because we love them, not because of any personal satisfaction or gain. I love this Gospel so much!! The church is true!!!

Love you all!

Hermana Holloway

Ashley Santos and I on Halloween. I'd figure out how to make it not sideways but soy floja.

My zone. Most of these missionaries are just in Norman. We're definitely blessed to have so many! And yes, Sister Sotelo is really that short.

Monday, October 28, 2013

We found a trailer park without speed bumps!

Aloha y hola seres humanos! Greetings from Spanishland!!

This week was Zone Conference which was AMAZING (and long, but I think that's mostly because my attention span is short). President Walkenhorst, the APs, and the Zone Leaders all gave trainings about various topics. One of the things that really stuck out to me was about obedience. President W compared each "rule" or principle to a switch on a switchboard. If you demonstrate to the Lord that you're responsible enough to operate that switch then you'll get more, which means you get more rules, which are really just opportunities for blessings. The Lord blesses us with commandments so He can bless us, and if we obey the commandments we'll receive more. Some people have proved their obedience to the point that they can operate as many switches as you'd find in the cockpit of an aircraft, whereas some can only control an analog telephone. It really made me think, because every missionary has to be keeping the commandments to be worthy to go on a mission, but once we're here we don't get to relax the rules but rather we're given the white handbook which has TONS of rules but thereby tons of opportunities for blessings. Interesting, no? It definitely made me want to be more obedient.

Then on Thursday we had the demon wasp incident! If I had my camera chord I'd send pictures, but alas. So Sister C. and I were weekly planning like good missionaries and we decided to open the window because it was BEAUTIFUL out, like 70s and sunny and it was kind of hot and stuffy in the apartment. The only problem is that our windows don't have screens, but we remedied that by putting the fan in the window. Good. Actually not good because a little bit later this DEMON WASP (it was actually just a normal sized wasp) sent from SATAN came in the window and tried to eat my companion and then take her back to its lair to feed its evil demon wasp babies!!!! (actually it just flew in and started chilling on the light on our ceiling) So Sister C started making a flyswatter from her slipper and the twisty stick thing from the blinds while I kept an eye on the wasp to make sure it didn't disappear. Well I took my eyes off of it for about .01 seconds (maybe like 30...) and it disappeared!!! We looked everywhere but couldn't find it. We decided that it had crawled into the ceiling above the light fixture and was going to make babies which we for sure didn't want so we started to carefully take off the light to inspect. Well basically the light turned into a chandelier. No bueno. Then we had to go to the office and get Syndy (the office lady) to help us fix it. The maintenance guy came by shortly and turned our chandelier back into a normal light fixture, so now everything's good again. Hallelujah!! Basically from that experience we learned that you shouldn't touch light fixtures and we need a flyswatter. A little bit later we brought Syndy some pineapple because she was so helpful and basically awesome in general and then the next day she got us a flyswatter. So maybe the wasp was sent by Heavenly Father so we could meet Syndy. Whatever the case may be, it was a pretty funny experience and definitely delayed weekly planning by like 2 hours. 

And then on Friday was exchanges!!!! Sis C and I got to be companions with the 2 STLs (Sister Training Leaders... they're basically in charge of the sisters. It's a fairly new calling) in the zone so I got to lead out Spanishland with Sister Pfister who is an AMAZING missionary but doesn't speak Spanish. Our first appointment was with people who speak English though so that was good and I was able to see her in action. She's fabulous. I want to be like her when I grow up. Our next appointment was at a trailer park and we had the ward mission leader and his fiancee come but the flaky people flaked out. So we decided to go tracting with members! We actually had an AWESOME finding miracle too. We were walking around seeing potentials when Sis P points out this man working on something in his yard. She tells me to go talk to him (because she doesn't speak Spanish) which I wouldn't have ordinarily done because he looked pretty busy. I go over and "heavenly gift" him, which is our usual finding approach. Basically because everyone here is religious you just ask to pray with them, identify the Spirit, and get a return appointment. It usually works pretty well. So we heavenly gifted him and asked if there was anything in particular that he needed. He told us that his dad had actually just died in Mexico. WHOA. So we ask if we can talk to him (Daisy said "compartir palabras de aliento" but I'm not exactly sure how that translates) and he agreed! So we talked about the plan of salvation and gave him a Book of Mormon! The Spirit was so strong too! I hope that he'll be able to progress, but I've observed that there are 2 types of Hispanics: those that are staunchly Catholic and those that believe that religion doesn't matter as long as you believe in God. Neither are very receptive to the Church, and he's the second. So please pray for Rolando!

Then the next day we went to Purcell, which is this tiny "blink or you'll miss it" town South of Norman. It was there that we found the trailer park without speed bumps (which was really exciting because that's the worst part about trailer parks) and we also had an interesting encounter with some other Mexican men. So we were visiting this potential investigator who lives outside of Purcell just off the freeway behind this abandoned gas station with about 5 other trailers. Sketchy, right? Well he wasn't home, but as we were leaving we saw these guys cooking chicken and chilling in their little garage off their trailer. We decide to go talk to them, and they feed us chicken with tortillas and this hot sauce that I'm pretty sure burned a hole through my tongue. You would've loved it Mom. We talked about faith and the gospel and gave them a Book of Mormon. It was super fun! I love meeting random strangers. It's the spice of life. We'll probably go back there and talk to them some more. Hopefully they'll read the Book of Mormon and want to be baptized! Hey, miracles happen right?

Well I think this is sufficiently long, but just know that I love you all and I'm doing SO GREAT and loving being a missionary here in Oklahoma! I'm so blessed and have the best life ever!!!!


Hermana Halloween (because Holloway is too difficult for most Hispanics)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Before we begin, I would like to take a moment of silence and appreciate this Oklahoma sunset, as seen from my favorite trailer park:

Everyone ready?


How's everyone doing? I'm doing just great. Actually I'm doing AMAZING! Wanna know why? Because I had an AMAZING week! I mean, they're all amazing but I'm pretty sure they're just getting more amazing.

So first of all I'd just like to thank everyone who sent me mail this week. You have no idea how much getting mail can make a missionary's day. My compa and I spend all day saying to each other "we might get mail today!" and when there's mail in the mail box the day just gets 1000000% better! So basically just keep it coming. I'm going to try my hardest to answer all the letters I got but if I don't respond for a while it's not because I don't love you. And if I never respond then it means I don't love you :). But I love you all so that won't happen. Also, I did get one package from my amazing mother from Amazon that had food!! YES! Just a reminder, though, that if you send it via Amazon then the office can't forward it so I have to wait until someone from my zone is kind enough to pick it up for me unless I happen to go to OKC. That's not usually a problem unless it's something that I need urgently.

Alright now on to the good stuff. WE GOT 4 NEW INVESTIGATORS THIS WEEK!!! The first two I'm the most excited about. So my compa and I were knocking doors in this trailer park and we were kind of sick of this trailer park because a lot of the potentials from there have been pretty flaky. So after going around and finding out that nobody was home for a while we decided to try one last door before we were gonna give up and go somewhere else. We offered to pray with Edna (the woman who opened the door) and she let us right in and offered to feed us after knowing for all of 5 seconds. Good sign. Then after the prayer we told her that we had an important message and could we please come back and share it with her? She wasn't having that. She wanted us to teach her RIGHT THEN. So we taught her the restoration with her daughter and they were crying and the Spirit was so strong and she accepted baptism!!! It was so amazing!! We were going to teach her again on Friday but her car broke or something (it's really hard to understand people speaking Spanish on the phone) so our return appointment is on Wednesday. I really hope that nothing happens that would drive her away from the church because she and her daughter both seem super solid! Prayers on her behalf would be appreciated.

Our next new investigator is another trailer park find named Mario. He's Catholic so I'm not sure if he'll be as accepting of the Evangelio (Gospel) but he really loves his family so Sis. C and I want to go back and talk to him about how the gospel can bless his family.

The final investigator this week is also named Mario and he's a brother to Omar and Berto. We went back to the Santos trailer to teach Omar and Berto but it ended up being Omar and Mario. It was a good lesson though. We read part of 3 Nephi 11 and Sister Santos and Hugo (the Santos's son who's in his 20s) both bore powerful testimonies about the Book of Mormon. Member present lessons are the best!! Go out with the missionaries to teach! They need your testimonies! Omar and Hugh are also both hilarious. Hugo especially is just a big goofball. His sense of humor is kind of like Sam's actually. At one point he went into the kitchen and came out with an apron to kill a fly because he forgot that he already had the flyswatter out then later put on the apron, danced a little hula, and told us all that he's going to bake a cake for us. He's basically an older Mexican version of Sam. The best is that he's only 22 but is already in the branch presidency. This Sunday he was conducting and asked me to pray from the pulpit but he either didn't remember my last name or can't pronounce it because he definitely said "La Hermana Halloween dará la oración". Classic. Oh and he asked both me and my compa to speak this next Sunday. Great. We get to go to their house tonight for Noche de Hogar (FHE) so that should be fun! The Santos family is pretty much the best.

Love you all! Keep living, laughing, loving, praying, sharing, and testifying!! Member missionary work is where it's at!! Give out those referrals!!

Con amor,

Hermana Holloway