Monday, September 30, 2013

Hey, Guess What? ... I sang in the Conference Center!!!

ALOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHA familia y amigos!!!! How are y'all doing? I am just dandy. Actually better than dandy. Wanna know why?
It was seriously one of the best moments of my life. It was a bit terrifying to look out into the crowd to see 22,000 women but I seriously believe that there were angels singing with us. I could go into great detail about everything that happened that day, but I'll just focus on some highlights so this isn't sleep-inducing:
  • The General Relief Society is so sweet. Before the meeting they spoke to us and basically made me feel like I was the most special person in the world. And then after the meeting they waited for us all to file out so they could give every sister a hug. By the way, there were about 360 sisters in the choir. And they hugged every last one of us! The funny thing is, though, that I really didn't feel like I was just another sister in the missionary choir. I really felt like they loved me personally and individually. It really reminded me of how Christ loves us. He doesn't see us as a statistic or another warm body or anything like that. Rather, He sees us as the people we are AND as the people we have the potential to become. I don't think I've ever felt the pure love of Christ as strongly as I felt in that meeting.
  • When we were riding the bus home Pres. Hacking (of the MTC presidency) asked us to sing some of the hymns that we sang during the broadcast. After that was done we kept singing hymns all the way home. We probably still had 30 or 40 minutes left in the trip but we didn't stop (and we were singing in 3-part improvised a capella harmony, which was legit). The Spirit was SO STRONG and I really felt like we were an army of sisters that has the potential to change the world.
  • They fed us well. I came home with 3 Snickers bars and a belly full of 2 sandwiches.
  • Sister Wadley, the chorister, was so inspiring. She looks really serious on the broadcast but in real life she's CRAZY but in a good way. Anyways, she really helped us to do our best through constant positive encouragement. It was awesome. 
  • I got to live my dream and sing with a missionary choir in the Conference Center! I thank my Heavenly Father for making that happen. That's a once in a lifetime chance crossed off my bucket list!
It was just an overall incredible experience, and you can always re-watch the performances on!
That was basically the most exciting thing that happened this week. We did have some crazy illnesses going on too. I think people enter the MTC and any health problems they might have had all of the sudden get 100x worse. I've definitely seen the power of the priesthood work this week!
In other news, I go to Oklahoma tomorrow!! I'm leaving on my P-Day, so they've given me today to do laundry and email and pack all of my stuff. Hopefully my suitcases aren't overweight :). Everyone in my district is leaving one by one which is really sad because we've all gotten so close and I don't know when I'll see them again. I'm especially going to miss my companion, who is an ANGEL and I love her. I wish we were all going to the same mission like many other districts here, but c'est la vive.
Along the same vine, anyone who wants to send me letters (which is everyone right?) should send them to my Oklahoma address, not the MTC address.

Thank you SO MUCH for all the dearelders and the package!! The cookies were like manna from heaven. And I love hearing all of your squirrely thoughts, Mama. And tell Ashley that I'm so happy that she's getting better and give Jonas and Addie a hug from me!!

Love you all!! Abrazos y besos!
Herman A. Holloway
Some funny moments from the week:
  1. Elder Lier was flipping through our orange MTC manual thing (which is in Spanish) when he suddenly exclaims, "hey! These numbers are in English!". Yes, yes they are. They're also in Arabic!
  2. Coming out of devotional yesterday Hna. Quinones and I heard an elder say "there was a straight up B-Dog sitting in front of us!" If you don't know what that means, ask Trevor and Sam. And Trev and Sam, if you ever say that  I might vomit on you then punch you.
  3. Hna. Quinones was watching the sign language interpreter during this beautiful harp solo of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". She taps me on the shoulder and points to the interpreter and says "did you know that they can sign music in sign language?" Me: "...She's probably just signing the words to the hymn."
  4. Hna. Quinones and I have perfected freaky face pictures together. I have pictoral evidence but the computers are not camera-friendly so you'll have to wait until next week.
Bethani asked me to include the two links below for those of you interested in watching these lovely sister missionaries sing. Bethani is wearing purple and her hair looks blonde in both of the pictures below. It was awesome to see her doing what she loves and is passionate about! We are so excited to talk to her tomorrow!!!
Love you all,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Living the Dream at the MTC

ALOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! And hola tambien! How is everyone? I'm doing so fantastic!! The MTC is pretty great. My district is awesome, the food is edible, the bed is sleepable, and I get to do laundry today! What more could a girl want??
Anyways, it feels like I've been here for WAY longer than a week. New people have already started arriving and it's gonna be great to not be an MTC baby anymore! Hmm... What should I talk to you about. Well I'm in the Advanced Spanish program, which means that I'm learning the same things as English speakers but in Spanish. My district is a mix of Mexicans, a Guatemalan, an Ecuadorian, a half Honduran, two Argentines, and 2 gringos (myself and an elder from Wyoming). Most of them are going stateside, but the other gringo is going (shoutout to Ben McRae) to Panama! And his companion is going to Mexico. But other than that we're all stateside. It's amazing how much my Spanish has already improved just by using it all the time. I'm pretty comfortable talking to everyone in Spanish all the time. It's a ton of fun.
My companion is Sister Quinones and she's from Argentina. She's really sweet and really spiritual and we've already grown so close. She definitely helps me grow and by talking to her my Spanish gets so much better! I'm actually the senior companion, so you can tell Chris that what he said has to happen before you can become a senior companion didn't happen. So there. (though he'll say I'm still in the MTC so it doesn't count but I don't care)
Our days consist of classes, teaching practice, larger group devotional type stuff, study, eating, and repeat! The first two days were pretty overwhelming and Friday was turning me into a giant stressball until we finally had GYM TIME!!!!!!!!!!! It made everything so much better! Hna. Q likes to run so we ran around the field outside and it was so strange to see the outside world. Like people still drive in cars and talk on cell phones and know what's going on outside of the MTC bubble! (what is going on anyway? has life really gone on?)
The MTC is great because you're constantly surrounded by uplifting things. Everything you do is focused on bringing others to Christ. We really have given up our time to the Lord and as such need to focus on what He wants us to do. Plus the Spirit is really strong here and you meet the most AWESOME people. Sometimes, though, I see a pair of missionaries walking around and I think "oh cool there are the missionaries" and I totally forget that I have the same nametag on my chest. Yeah. I'm not really used to that. Or being called Sister Holloway all the time. That's weird.
Oh, and here's the BEST NEWS EVER AND PART OF THE FACT THAT I'M LIVING THE DREAM!!! It turns out that there's a choir of sister missionaries singing in the General Relief Society broadcast this Saturday. And guess what!!! I'm in it!!!!! I GET TO SING IN THE CONFERENCE CENTER WHICH IS THE PLACE THAT I'VE WANTED TO SING IN MY WHOLE LIFE AND I'M SO EXCITED AND I JUST CANT EVEN HANDLE IT!! To decide who gets to sing we had to fill out this survey based on our singing experience, and I'm so glad that I was able to brag about my years of voice lessons and choir. So look out for me on Saturday! And tell everyone to watch! Because it'll be great!!
I also leave in a week. I have to go to the travel office at 2:30 am and my flight leaves at 6:30. I do have a layover in Texas that day so I could call you from the airport... but I don't remember when. Sorry! So if you get a call from a weird pay phone in Texas it's me! It'll most likely be in the morning.

ANYways, being a missionary is great. I love it. I love the MTC too but I'm really excited to get out to the field because when we teach here it just feels kinda fake. I'm glad I don't have to be here for 6 weeks to learn Spanish here! That would be a pain.

You asked what I could possibly be doing on my P-Day. Well this morning I had choir practice so I missed going to the temple with my district so I went later with another Hermana in my zone who's also in the choir. Then we ate lunch and now I'm doing laundry and wearing pants and sending emails and chilling with my district! Life is good!! And later we have MTC devotional which should be good. Pues... I don't really know what else y'all wanna know but just know that I'm loving life and doing what I've been dreaming about doing my whole life!!
Besos y abrazos,
Herman A. Holloway
PS: People should write me letters.
PPS: And I did get my license and the other thing we ordered. Thank you!
PPS: I met a girl that dated Bryant for like a week. She recognized me because of my name tag. And I saw Teal Bickmore and a couple other BYUH people here that I wasn't expecting to see.

Bethani with her cousin, Ben, who works at the MTC.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Drop-off at the MTC and Her First Email

So, all future posts on the blog will probably be by me, Bethani's mom, affectionately called Mamie or Zillie by Bethani. You'll have to ask her where she came up with Zillie when she returns. I am posting from her computer so it will probably say the posts are by Bethani for a while until I take the time to figure out how to change that.

We dropped Bethani off at the MTC at 8:05 a.m. on Wednesday, September 18th. I thought it was going to be fairly easy. It was not. I don't know why I cried as much as I did, after all she has been at college in Hawaii for nearly a year straight (I blame my dad, who is very good at tears). She was SO ready to go. Like "bye mom and dad, I'm good, you can leave." She is excited to serve the Lord and the people of Oklahoma City and I am excited for her and my tears have stopped.

We received an email two days later (on Friday) much to my surprise and excitement. Here are the contents:


The Zone Leaders let me send you a short note letting you know that everything is going well! I'm doing great and will email you more on P-Day, which will be Tuesday.

Te amo!

Hermana Holloway

Short, sweet and awesome! We should hear from her tomorrow!! 

Bethani's Must-do Activities Prior to Entering the MTC (besides the dreaded shopping)

Bethani really wanted to go to the Salt Lake Temple prior to entering the MTC. We went on Monday morning, it was absolutely fantastic. Grandma Jan and Aunt Michelle came with us!

Bethani with all of the Salt Lake Temple (she wasn't too happy I cut off the spires in the picture below).

Bethani and Aunt Michelle.

Visiting with her cousin, Alyson in the Cannon Center at BYU.

Seeing dear friends from Chicago at BYU. Audrey, Bethani, Cassie and Anna. Another friend from our ward family in Libertyville came and visited with us too but left before we took the camera out. So, David...thanks for coming and good luck in Argentina in a few months! We had a great visit and look forward to hearing about all of these awesome young peoples lives. They are all doing great things.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mission Photos!!

So my lovely mother took these pictures of me before my mission probably so she doesn't forget what I look like after not seeing me for a while. Enjoy!

I like posing in front of waterfalls.

My amazing father.

My wonderful mother.