Monday, December 22, 2014

A Mighty Change of Heart

ALOOOOOOOOOOHA!!!!
 
and
 
MELE KALIKIMAKA!!!!!!
 
and
 
FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!!!!!
 
and 
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! (If this gave you a seizure, I apologize)
 
Oh man, life is just too good over here!! I'm 100% excited for Christmas, even more excited than last Christmas. I'm really grateful because I've been in this area for about 5 months now so I know a lot of people whereas last Christmas I didn't know very many because I'd just gotten transferred the week before. But we're going to spend it with some of my favorite families so it'll be great!
 
A lot of really exciting things happened this week. 
 
Maggie got baptized! It was a beautiful and spiritual experience. Both of the women who spoke are converts so they gave touching and personal testimonies of baptism and the Holy Ghost. I don't think I've ever attended a more spiritual baptism in my life. We asked her how she felt right after she got out of the water and she said "FABULOUS!!" with a big smile on her face. Her family is softening their hearts little by little as well!
 
Andy set a baptism date!! This was a total surprise to me, especially because at the beginning I NEVER thought he'd get baptized and when we tried to set a date a few weeks ago I just didn't think it would happen any time soon! But at our last lesson he bore testimony about the reality of the Apostasy and Restoration (the very things that he had originally rejected) and we pretty much asked him "WHY HAVEN'T YOU GOTTEN BAPTIZED YET??" He basically said that he was waiting for a date to pop into his head. We know that God rarely gives us reveleation that way, so we decided to be the middlemen and list off all the Fridays in January. He said that he was stuck between the 16th and the 23rd. Sis. McKenzie said that her dad was a convert and his birthday is the 16th so he should choose that one and then I chimed in and said that there wasn't really anything special about the 23rd. So he chose the 16th. It was just so incredible, though, because this is something I NEVER would have expected the first time I met Andy. It makes me think of a scripture in the Book of Mormon that takes place after a prophet/king named Benjamin finishes teaching his people about their Savior and asks if they believe his words:
 
"And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought mighty change‍ in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evilbut to do good continually."
 
I have witnessed this time and time again in myself and in others. People who stop desiring evil and instead desire good continually. EVERYONE has the capacity to change and become like God. If you think it's too late to change, you're wrong. A few weeks ago I witnessed the baptism of an 83 year old man who began his life anew because he experienced this mighty change of heart. Andy has already lived most of his life, but he also experienced the mighty change of heart and is changing his life to be in harmony with God's will. We all can and do change all the time. We are not built to be static. We are dynamic beings who are becoming like God. 
 
I love you all and I hope that during this Christmas week you all remember the One who makes it possible to change through His grace and mercy. Jesus Christ is the reason we have Christmas and the only source of peace and hope in this life and the next. I pray that we all can bring out lives more in alignment with His will.
 
Love,
 
Hermana Bethani Holloway
 
PICTURES:
1. Maggie's baptism
2. Making Pecan Balls at Grandma Goewey's. Each batch has sweetened condensed milk, butter, and powdered sugar. YUM.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tornado warning? in December???

But really. We were at our Ward Mission Leader's house for correlation meeting last night and all the sudden the tornado sirens start going off... We turned on the news and sure enough there was a tornado warning for Oklahoma county! Luckily the storm was out in Luther (which is just north of Choctaw so it's pretty far east) so we didn't have to worry. We were all ready to head underground though! It's my first official tornado warning as a missionary in OK, so the fact that it took 15 months and that it happened in December is super bizarre. But such is the weather in Okie-home-a!
 
Anyways...
 
ALOOOHA FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!

This week was WONDERFUL! We've been doing a lot of service, and our mission president announced that they want us missionaries using the justserve.org website to serve for 10 hours each week. That might be kind of tricky because we're super busy but I love service so it should be fun! We were able to serve for the Salvation Army and help them process gifts for Christmas and then we set up for the ward Christmas party (it was 3 members and 6 missionaries... so it was good we were there). I got to wear pants a LOT though. No complaints there!
 
We also had our Christmas mission conference that included half of the mission. I got to see some old friends and everything they trained on was exactly what we needed. It was a spiritual and physical feast (because there was good food as well)! President Walkenhorst talked a lot about cleansing the inner vessel and working with members. He said that our goal should not be to get referrals, but to teach them how to be member missionaries. Sometimes I do that backwards, and it doesn't work as good :). But basically I'm just really really grateful that I can be a missionary and learn at the feet of inspired leaders and spiritual giants that really help me and inspire me to be the best I can. I'm also really grateful that I have been able to learn how to recognize the Spirit in general because that is something that I wasn't very good at before or even at the beginning of my mission. It's something that has come as I have diligently prayed and recorded spiritual experiences and sought to have them. Since I have done that I can see exactly when I have the Spirit and when I do not. It's something that's impossible to describe but easy to understand once you've experienced it. So if you haven't been able to feel or recognize the Spirit in your life I encourage you to start learning now, because it will become like a GPS that will give you direction in all that you do.
 
Also we had our ward Christmas party this week! We had our own missionary table with "He is the Gift" all set up and rolling. A lot of members brought friends that ate the food and had a great experience. Maggie also came and just LOVED it, especially the program featuring a young couple with their own baby. The next day we brought Maggie to a baptism and she had tears streaming down her face the whole time. I know that she felt the Spirit and is excited for her own baptism.
 
I'm grateful for all of you and your support and examples to me. I love you and I hope that as we move closer to Christmas you can feel the Spirit that accompanies this special season.
 
Con much carino y amor,
 
Hermana Holloway
 
FOTOS:
1. Salvation Army service! Courtney drove us and the elders down there. She went to BYUH too, so she's automatically really cool in my book.
2. Our table at the ward Christmas party. #sharethegift!
3. When the tornado sirens went off we did the natural thing, went outside and looked at the sky :). Pretty cool, huh?




Inspired ear infections and the lost key fiasco

well ALOOOOOOOOOHA family and friends!!!
 
This week was....
 
well....
 
It was a rollercoaster. And for those of y'all that know me well you know that I LOVE roller coasters, but sometimes riding them can be exhausting (if you don't believe me, go to 6 Flags on a slow day and ride Raging Bull 10 times. Then you'll understand) BUT it is also really fun. It's that whole principle of opposition thing that I was talking about earlier. To quote myself from 9/22:
 
So there has been a lot of opposition, BUT as Lehi points out, if we didn't have the bad we would not appreciate or even see the good. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING has its opposite. I'm sure that all y'all smarties out there have already figured this out, and intellectually I knew it, but I have never seen so many examples of it until this week. We NEED opposition to be able to be happy, of this I am thoroughly convinced.
 
So yeah. This week has been a rollercoaster. But with every downhill comes an uphill, through every slow patch there's speed up ahead, and every line you have to wait in has a fun ride at the end. But before I wax too philosophical and bore all y'all, here are some experiences to help you ride the rollercoaster with me:
 
EXPERIENCE #1: Last Monday my ear was KILLING me and I knew from past experience that I had an ear infection, probably brought on by doing a lot of service in the allergy-infested outdoors. So we called the mission nurse and she recommended that I just go to urgent care and get an antibiotic prescribed. Well shoot. Ain't nobody got time for that! We literally had NO time until Wednesday, so that's when we went. We went to an urgent care in Edmond because I've spent 4 hours at urgent care in the city before so we decided to go somewhere that was a little more... classy. Luckily we got in and out in less than 30 minutes and they were even able to fill the prescription right away at the little family pharmacy that's attached to the urgent care. So we went around and started talking to the lady that was filling the prescription. After chatting for a minute, we asked if she was excited for Christmas (one of the ways we transition to "He is the Gift") and she said that she was, but she has a hard time teaching her children about God because they're really little so they don't really know the true meaning of Christmas. Well, just ASK THE MISSIONARIES they can help you! So we told her about He is the Gift, etc and before we could even ask if we could come by she asked if she could have our card so she could get ahold of us. Well ok! We set up an appointment for the next day. But upon examining the map we realized that she did not live in our area... so we had to give her to the Edmond 1st elders. But they had a lesson with her and set a baptismal date and then she came to church! So it wasn't a new investigator for us, but we're all on the same team, right?
 
EXPERIENCE #2: Friday was definitely the most awkward day of my life. I won't go into detail, but just trust me when I say that it was AWKWARD and a little discouraging. However, Saturday was amazing!(remember that whole opposition thing) We went to a baptism in Stillwater for Sis. McKenzie and then Tieasha (Comesha's daughter) had her baby shower and we were able to set some appointments with her family members. Then that night we were filling up the car and we get this phone call. He says that his name is Chris and that his dad just joined the church about 2 years ago and he's decided that he wants to be taught by missionaries and be baptized. WHO DOES THAT???? We were freaking out just a little bit and part of me thought that it'd be a scam, but it wasn't! The only problem was, though, that as we checked the address, we found out that he lives in the Edmond 1st elders area... So we passed him over once again. Kind of sad, but we know that we're being instruments in God's hands and that he will bless us with new people to teach as we continue to be worthy and diligent!
 
EXPERIENCE #3: Church on Sunday was JUST AMAZING. We wanted to present He is the Gift at church, and our bishop ended sacrament meeting a little early, and then we introduced the video and the initiative while the congregation was still sitting there. So everyone in the ward saw it and LOVED it. It also became the topic of conversation for the rest of church and many members commented on how much they liked it and that they are thinking of people that they can share the Gift with this Christmas. IT WAS SO GREAT!! and then the rest of church was fantastic. Bro. Cease gave an inspiring lesson in Gospel Principles about testimonies and everyone was moved to tears. And then in Relief Society Sis. Burke had the sisters share the impressions that they received as they watched He is the Gift and how they're going to act on them. It was simply amazing. I have never felt so inspired and renewed after church before. THIS CHURCH IS SO TRUE!!!!! 
...but later on, while we were sitting in correlation we realized that our house key was missing. Like gone. We tried to retrace our steps as best we could on our way to Stillwater for another baptism (by calling people) but nobody could find it. By the time we got home it was 10pm and our options were either to call the mission president so he could bring us a spare key or to crash at another set of sister's house. We chose the latter, because I was not about to make Pres. W interrupt his sleep for our mistake. So we go to the Edmond 1st sister's apartment and sleep on their air mattress and recliner and then this morning we had to figure out what to do. I was a little down for the count because I had not brought any contact solution, and the only sister who wears contacts in that apartment has this weird solution that you can only use with a specific case or else it will burn your eyeballs out (weird, right?). Well I didn't find this out until the morning and my contacts had already been sitting in the solution all night. Long story short, I was blind from the time I woke up until we finally got back into our apartment. Not fun. We never did find the key, so we got into the apartment using the spare and then had the lock changed so whoever has it can no longer get in.
 
Do you see the rollercoaster effect? All in all it was a great week, though. We have had some great experiences sharing the Gift and I am so excited to being teaching the friends that I know our members will give to us. LIFE IS SO GOOD!!!!
 
Well y'all are awesome. I appreciate your prayers on my behalf. Please keep them coming, and especially pray for the members here because I know that they want to invite, they just sometimes lack the boldness to do so (as do we all).
 
I LOVE YOU!!!
 
~Hermana Holloway
 
PICTURES!
1. Sometimes district lunch gets a little out of hand.
2. Crazy fog on the way to Stilly
3. Our sleepover in Edmond




 
PS: You should look up "the Missionary Next Door" and listen to it (it's a talk) it's super funny and really amazing!

Monday, December 1, 2014

He is the GIFT!!

GOOOOOOOOOD afternoon friends and family!!!!!
 
So I hope all y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a really really great one. We only had 2 dinners, but they were back-to-back. We started out at the Bishop's house and had a big, traditional dinner and then went straight to Sis. Goewey's (one of our RCs) house for some fried turkey! It was a LOT of food to handle, but it was way fun. And on the way back to drop off the elders we drove through Nichol's Hills (one of the ritziest places in OK. We have a joke that it's called Nichol's Hills because the people have a lot of nickels) and got a preview of their Christmas lights. It's basically a neighborhood of really huge, unique mansions, so of course it was stunning. 
 
The really big news, though, is called He is the Gift. It's going to be the main tool for members and missionaries to share the gospel this Christmas season. If you haven't seen the video, watch it right now!
 
The purpose of it is to bring people closer to Christ and to help people discover, embrace, and share the true meaning of Christmas. It's really really great and such an easy and nonthreatening way to share the gospel! We even got special pass-along cards at a special training about it and since then we've been having great conversations with people about it and sharing the gift with EVERYONE. It's so great! Everyone should DISCOVER the Gift, EMBRACE the Gift, and SHARE the Gift, because Jesus is what it's all about. Without Him, none of this matters!
 
I AM SO EXCITED TO BE A MISSIONARY THIS CHRISTMAS!!! I love and appreciate all y'all and I hope you have stellar weeks and that the beginning of your Christmas season is fabulous. Take care! Amor y besos!
 
~Hermana Holloway
 
FOTOS:
 
1. When we were visiting a RC family on Thanksgiving with the elders we saw this white tower thing so we decided to take a picture in front of it! I'm pretty sure it's attached to some energy company.
2. Thanksgiving at Grandma Goewey's!
3. HE IS THE GIFT!! Share it!






DOUBLE BAPTISM WEEKEND!!

ALOOOOOOHA family and friends!!
 
As you can already tell from the title, this week was AMAZING!!! SO many people making and keeping covenants with Heavenly Father! Life is good!!
 
Also, this is new planner week... and I forgot my old planner. So if there some holes in the narrative I profusely apologize.
 
This week was transfers. Nothing changed in Village North, but in our district a set of sisters got swapped for elders. Sad, but true. The wave that began October of 2012 is beginning do die down and they predict that our mission, which is now at about 220 missionaries, will go down to 180 in the next 6 months a lot of areas will be closing, and more sister areas will have to be switched to elders. So if you don't want to go on a mission just because "everyone's doing it", just know that we need you out here. Every able and worthy young man, woman, or senior couple. We could use many many more in this mission and throughout the world. 
 
Anyways, it was sad to see the sisters go. So now in my STL dominion there are 5 companionships, and when I got here we got 7. This is kind of a blessing as well, because we can devote more attention to each individual missionary. Sis. McKenzie and I have devised a plan to help each sister with her individual progress so that she can grow from wherever she is. I'm really excited to implement it on exchanges!
 
As for our investigators, this week we saw Elijah every day and HE GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! It was wonderful. He's been taught for a while, and he was just so ready and excited. He had a huge goofy grin on the entire time, and half the deacon's quorum came and supported him in that decision. I was reflecting back on my time teaching him, and the real pivotal moment came when we had a lesson with him in a member's home. I guarantee that he would not have gotten baptized if it weren't for that. Since that lesson he continuously progress until his baptism date. I'm so grateful for the members in this ward! They are so amazing!
 
We were also able to set a baptismal date with one of our other "eternal investigators", Myrianna! (she's the "Mimi" in "Mimi and Tati" if you remember them) We did a missionary fast (meaning we stopped seeing her for about 3 weeks)because she wasn't really progressing, and then we went to see her and just boldly invited her to be baptized on December 13th. She accepted! Milagro!
 
And Emmitt's baptism, which was cancelled last week due to snow, happened yesterday! There was also a lot of support from the ward, and Sis. Petermann and Sis. Goelz gave really touching talks that really showed the love they have for April and Emmitt. I love how much the ward has embraced this family with open arms, especially since they have made such sacrifices to be where they're at. 
 
Mostly I've been spending a lot of time marveling at the members and the work here. This is my 4th transfer in the Village Ward, longer than any other area, and I've seen consistent growth the whole time. The members are catching the spirit of missionary work and are recognizing the blessings that serving Father's children brings to their lives. I'm just so grateful to be a missionary! This is really really hard, but there are things that I've learned out here that I doubt I would have learned anywhere else. At the beginning of my mission I had the attitude that the mission field needed me. Well now I recognize just how much I need the mission field. I need the refiner's fire and the experiences that encourage me to rely on the Lord. It was very necessary for my personal spiritual progression and I highly recommend it :).
 
Well, I love you all!!! Cuidense y que disfruten del dia de la accion de gracias!
 
~Hermana Holloway
 
PICTURES:
1. Elijah's baptism! love this kid!
2. Emmitt's baptism! He's so funny!
3. The sketchy basement that has the controls to fill the font!

Monday, November 17, 2014

80 to 30 in 12 hours

The above title is in reference to the temperature. This time last week it was a balmy 80 degrees. we spent the day outside in short sleeves and enjoyed the sunshine. That night the temperatures began to drop until Tuesday morning it was a frigid 30 degrees with bitter cold wind. Why? I dunno, it's just Oklahoma. I've lived in quite a few places, but the weather out here is nothing like anything I've ever experienced.
 
But anyways, I don't want to bore you by just talking about the weather. We actually did have a really exciting week. I wasn't in my area for a lot of it, but it was still exciting. 
 
...........................................I don't really know how I want to organize the events, so I'll just go with a 3rd person narrative. Read it in your best storyteller voice. :)
 
Once upon a time there was a missionary named Hermana Holloway. She had been on her mission for a long time and was enjoying a wonderful P-Day when all the sudden she was on exchanges with one of the Spanish sisters in her area! She enjoyed a wonderful meal of delicious Mexican food, which was the first meal like that she'd had in a while. She really had missed endless corn tortillas and salsa. After the meal they went to a member's house, where they taught an investigator about the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was so overwhelming and wonderful that the investigator felt a desire to get baptized and they set a date for December 12th!
 
The next day Hermana Holloway rejoined her companion, Sister McKenzie. They had a wonderful Relief Society activity at the church and were even able to pick up some people to come with them because a member drove them in their very big car. They enjoyed wonderful dinner and company and came home satisfied with the food and the work. 
 
The next morning they were surprised to get a phone call from one of their members, Sister Wright. She had a problem and decided to "Ask the missionaries!" for help! One of her friends was having a problem at work and Sister Wright knew that the gospel could change her life for the better. So she asked the two stalwart sister missionaries to meet her at Braum's for hot chocolate with her friend. At Braum's the missionaries and Sis. Wright talked to Bridget about the gospel and the Book of Mormon. Bridget still feels happy in her church, but she was able to feel of Sis. Wright's love and was uplifted by the Spirit that she felt as the was with the missionaries and read the Book of Mormon. Hermana Holloway was impressed by how Sis. Wright had shared the Gospel and resolved to be like her when she was no longer a missionary.
 
After this lovely experience they went to the church with 3 of her favorite people: April, Emmitt, and Dylan. Emmitt passed his baptismal interview and then they all went out to lunch. Hermana Holloway loves all of the people that she's met here and is glad that they're her friends.
 
Later that afternoon they went to go teach a lesson to Maggie, one of their new investigators. She already loves the Book of Mormon and has agreed to be baptized on December 20th. She even came to church and announced her baptism in Relief Society. Hermana Holloway is so grateful that the Spirit is there while she teaches because it really helps people come close to Christ and experience conversion.
 
Hermana Holloway and Sister McKenzie also made a cake for one of the sisters in their dominion because it was her birthday. Service and doorbell ditching are so much fun!
 
Hermana Holloway and Sister McKenzie then had a lesson with Comesha and Elijah and Tieasha at one of their member's houses because Elijah is preparing to be baptized this Saturday. He is so excited to be baptized and Hermana Holloway loves the special Spirit that is there when you teach investigators in member's homes with their family. There is really nothing quite like it.
 
All of this was leading up to one of the best weekends of Hermana Holloway's whole life! On Friday Hermana Holloway and Sister McKenzie got in their chariot and drove 85 miles on I-40 to the mystical land of Weatherford to do exchanges! Hermana Holloway got out of the chariot and said farewell to Sister McKenzie and prepared for a wonderful day. She got to spend the day with Hermana Haddock, who has become one of her good friends and is an amazing missionary. That night they taught an investigator who is also getting baptized on Saturday and was so excited she asked if she could get baptized that Sunday! Hermana Holloway believes that the work is truly hastening up in here!
 
The next day they had a wonderful morning of studies and that afternoon not only did they get to go out to lunch with one of Hermana Holloway's favorite members from Weatherford, but Hermana Lemke, one of Hermana Holloway's favorite companions, was also there visiting! They had a lovely lunch and then they went to meet with Hugh Taylor's son. Hugh Taylor was being taught by Hermana Holloway and Hermana Lemke until he passed away in February. His son agreed to let the sisters come over and teach him more, and Hermana Holloway really hopes he will accept the restored gospel.
 
Then they went to teach a lesson to Cody together, and to Hermana Holloway it felt just like old times. Then they taught one of Hermana Haddock's investigators who is also preparing for baptism. There are so many baptisms that you might as well call this place the waters of Oklahoma! Hermana Holloway is so happy to see so many people preparing to make covenants with Heavenly Father.
 
Afterwards they went to a baptism that the Clinton Elders had and she got to see many members and missionaries that she loves. The best part, though, was going to a familiar place, the Arney's house, to have dinner with their family. For Hermana Holloway it really was like going home and she was so enthused to be there with Hermana Haddock and her old companion. It truly was a magical (no sarcasm intended) night.
 
And then on Sunday it was back to normal life. Emmitt's baptism was scheduled for Sunday night but unfortunately a big bad snow and ice storm came and made all the roads too icy to drive on! Hermana Holloway was helpless to battle the elements, so they rescheduled the baptism for the next week. Hermana Holloway and Sister McKenzie still had a good time in the snow, though. They ran into some former investigators that fed them soup and even though they were not quite ready to accept the gospel, they were able to have a god experience with them. Then the were able to give a Book of Mormon to a nice lady who hopefully will help that planted seed grow. All in all, it was a WONDERFUL week and Hermana Holloway is so happy to be a missionary and so happy that people love her, are praying for her, and send her stuff in the mail. The church is true, the book is blue, and Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
 
LOVE,
 
Hermana Holloway
 
PICTURES!!
1. Lesson with Cody. He's still a champ!
2. At the Arney's. LOVE THEM!
3. Tracting in the snow. Holla!




It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

...mostly because all of the stores in all the world already have their Christmas stuff out! Geez! Didn't we just barely get over Halloween?
 
AnywaysALOHA family and friends and strangers!!
 
This week was just downright amazing! We had a lot of fun doing a lot of missionary work! 
 
MONDAY we had a lesson with Comesha and Elijah at our high priest group leader's house. It was one of those LIFE CHANGING LESSONS that you just can't believe that you were a part of. We talked a lot about the Priesthood, because Elijah is 12 and can become a deacon after he's baptized. We really just let Bro. Lyon and his 12 year old son Grant teach the lesson, and hearing personal experiences with the Aaronic Priesthood from those two men just brought the best spirit and after that Elijah has just been so pumped to get the Priesthood! We set a baptismal date for November 22nd!
 
TUESDAY we had exchanges with the UCO single's ward sisters. It was a blast. We didn't have a lot of set plans in the afternoon, so Sis. Miller and I just biked, talked to a lot of people, and tried to find some inactives from a list that our Relief Society president gave us. Eventually we ended up driving to this apartment complex that wasn't really in biking distance right before dinner to try one more person. We knocked on her door, and nobody answered. We were about to get back into the car when I saw a car with Colorado plates. Maybe it was just the small part of me that's a Coloradan, but I thought "I really want to know who just moved here from Colorado". So we knocked on the door that the car was in front of. Nada. We went to get in the car again, but the Spirit wouldn't let us leave. So we knocked on the door next to the car and this older lady named Maggie opened the door. She invited us inside and we talked with her for about 20 minutes (PS she had just moved here from Colorado), and when we asked if we could come back she nodded emphatically before we could even finish the question. It was such a cool miracle!
 
Then later on that evening we had a lesson with Andy, who is one of our recent convert's (Paula's) best friend. We had had dinner with him a couple times before he started taking the lessons, and I thought he would never do it, but now we've been teaching him for about 2 months! We talked a lot about revelation in the lesson, and he said that he felt like he was heading down the right path. Then we asked where we thought that path led, and he said, "well probably to getting baptized." Let me just tell you, I NEVER would've expected that result 2 months ago! THE SPIRIT SOFTENS HEARTS. True story.
 
WEDNESDAY we had another really good lesson with Comesha and Elijah. Seriously the lesson at the Lyon's changed them. God is so good!
 
THURSDAY we took our car into the shop for a recall (I hate real world stuff like that). And then we had our ward's trunk or treat! We've been trying to really integrate ourselves into the ward, so we fully participated, trunk and all. Our ward mission leader got us candy and we taped it on pass along cards. We saw and met a lot of people, and Comesha and Elijah and Tieasha all came! It was a blast.
 
FRIDAY nothing really exciting happened. Let's just say that holidays aren't as fun as missionaries. Also we had to be in by 6.
 
SATURDAY we were on exchanges again, and I was with Sis. Stewart. It was another one of those days when you have a long day with no appointments, but we made it fun by going out with Lisa, who just got home from her mission in the Marshall Islands, doing a little tracting, and having a kind of lesson with an Okie talker that we probably will never see again. 
 
SUNDAY we had an amazing day at church! Comesha, Elijah, Andy, and about 10 other less actives were there! And they all loved it! Our ward has about 20 deacons, so Elijah gets a lot of fellowship. Our dinner appointment was in approximately Timbuktu, so we enjoyed a long road trip with the elders (let's just say that I had to keep the child lock on the windows the whole time) to a place that looked so much like Choctaw that it made my heart very happy. Then we had a wonderful lesson with April and Emmitt. Have I ever mentioned how much I love those two??? It's a whole lot.
 
WELL that was my week! I hope you didn't get bored halfway through. I hope you have a lovely week full of miracles and that you take time everyday to count your many blessings, but more importantly that you always have an attitude of gratitude.
 
LOVE Y'ALL!!!
 
~sister holloway
 
PICTURES!
1. carving our pumpkin for our car at trunk or treat. It says mormon.org on the side :)
2. Our car at trunk or treat. If you look really closely you'll notice that Sis. McKenzie and I are dressed as each other. I curled my hair and she straightened hers. We're wearing each other's clothes and bags and nametags as well :)
3. The elder's "trunk". Clever, right?





Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Halloween!!!

Aloha everybody!
 
It's just so great to be a missionary right now. LIFE IS GOOD!
 
So I haven't really talked about miracles in a while, so I'm gonna do that again:
 
MILAGRO #1: We had a lesson with April (who's Mormon now :) ) and at that lesson Emmitt told us that he wanted to be baptized. In his own words he said, "Before my mom was baptized I had a feeling that I shouldn't be baptized. But now that feeling is gone." WOW! Check out that faith! I love working with kids, because they have that kind of trusting faith. He doesn't really know anything about the gospel or baptism, but he knows that Heavenly Father wants him to do it, and that's enough for him. So we set a baptismal date for November 9th. Emmitt's getting baptized!!! :)
 
MILAGRO #2: About 2 weeks ago we got a referral from a guy in one of the Moore wards. It was for his friend that he had taken to see Meet the Mormons and after she had expressed a desire to meet with the missionaries. SO we boogied on over to see her, of course, and the first two times we saw her she kind of blew us off and didn't seem super interested or anything, so we thought she was just going to drop. Well on Tuesday she called us and invited us over for supper! WHAT?! It was sweet! So we ate supper with her and then had a short lesson then went back the next day to teach her again. She wants to build her relationship with God, but she's just scared at what will happen if she does. But we're praying for her and we know Heavenly Father knows what He's doing.
 
Those are a couple of the main things that are going down here in north OKC. We have also been doing a lot of ward roster clean up, which means that we visit people on the ward roster that we don't know and see if they still live there and would like contact with the church. It's actually a really great finding tool because it brings you to areas that you might not normally work and in contact with people that you might not normally see. Like yesterday we tried this lady that wasn't home but we talked to some of her neighbors that would like us to come back and teach them! Milagros! Heavenly Father has given us the opportunity to meet a lot of really cool people :).
 
In my study of the Book of Mormon I've been reading in Alma 43, which is the beginning of the long war between the Nephites and Lamanites. At the beginning the Nephites were at a serious disadvantage. There were less of them and they were not as physically strong as the Lamanites. They still won the battle, though, and here is why:
 45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by better‍ cause, for they were not fighting‍ for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their libertiestheir wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.
That "better cause" invited the power of God, whereas the Lamanites cause invited only the power of the Adversary, who, as we know, is weaker than God.
So how do we apply this? If we want to conquer Satan we have to have pure motives that will inspire pure actions that will invite the power and support of God. This is how we will prevail!

Well I love all y'all and I hope that your week is just as dandy as mine will be! Jesus loves you!
~Hermana Holloway
Pictures:
1. Our apartment got sprayed for varmits. Didn't really do much, but it gave us a chance to do a deep clean! This is all the stuff that was in our kitchen.
2. A really intelligently place sidewalk that we found during our ward roster cleanup.
3. Emmitt's birthday was yesterday so we decorated his door and gave him a copy of "Book of Mormon" stories.






Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's get this party started!!!

ALOOOOOOOOOOOOHA FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!!!!
 
Welcome to this new transfer!! I'm so PUMPED for it! I think it's going to be the best one yet. Sis. Adair has gone the way of all the earth, and I'm going to miss her a lot. My new companion is Sister McKenzie, and she is AMAZING. Like one of the most top-notch missionaries here. She's from Utah (shocker) and she's been out about 6 months. She's such a good missionary, though. I think that I'm going to learn more from her than she ever will from me. 
 
We had a really good week! We were able to see Comesha and Elijah. The young women's presidency came with us because they wanted to visit with Comesha's daughter. She wasn't there, though, because she caught wind of the event and you really have to take her by surprise if you want to see her. We had a really good visit with Comesha and Elijah, though, and it made me happy to see the ward take a more active role in fellowshipping that family.
 
We also got out on our bikes again because we want to redouble our efforts to talk to EVERYONE. In the effort we were able to meet some cool people and some not so cool people and we were also able to get in with a less active family that I've been trying to see my whole time here. AND we were able to have somewhat of a lesson! It was awesome! They're in trouble, though, because they didn't come to church. Silly people making silly choices...
 
We also went to go see Mimi and Tati, and as we read some of the Book of Mormon with them Tati mentioned out of the blue that she had been having some problems not drinking tea. So we took all of her tea bags and ripped them up so she wouldn't have that temptation anymore. It was cool, though, because we hadn't even mentioned the word of wisdom to her or asked if she was drinking tea, we just invited the Spirit by reading the scriptures and the Spirit led her to repent. I love the gospel! And being a missionary! It is simply the best.
 
Last night we had our correlation meeting with our 2 assistant Ward Mission Leaders (the WML was out of town)and a member of the Elder's Quorum Presidency came to present their part of the ward mission plan. (Basically, our ward mission plan outlines the goals of the mission as well as Elder Ballard's call to invite friends to meet with the missionaries once a quarter and each auxiliary is in charge of setting goals and making plans to help the ward achieve these overarching goals) All of the goals that he presented were so inspired and reflected a desire and enthusiasm on behalf of the members to do missionary work. We all just got really excited and I realized that we were finally building on a foundation of member trust that missionaries in the past had created and that we would see the fruits of their labors. It was inspiring to see the members excited to do missionary work and taking ownership of the work of salvation! When Elder Bradley D. Foster was here, he explained that there were three phases of missionary work:
 
1. the missionaries do it all
2. the members help the missionaries
3. the missionaries help the members
 
I'd say that the Village ward has been in phase 2, but I can see the transition into phase 3 starting to happen. THIS is when the Lord is hastening His work. THIS is the time to invite all to come unto Christ. What an exciting time to serve the Lord! There's honestly nowhere I'd rather be than in this small part of Oklahoma City giving my heart, might, mind and strength to my God. There truly is nothing better than to lose oneself in the service of others, because as Elder Neal A. Maxwell said:
 
Consecration is the only surrender which is also victory. It brings release from the raucous, overpopulated cell block of selfishness and emancipation from the dark prison of pride.
 
 
Remember the words which have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom have chosen to minister‍ unto this people. Therefore say unto you, take‍ no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
 Behold the fowls‍ of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies‍ of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
And yet say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek‍ ye first the kingdom‍ of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
I love you all! Thank you so much for your good examples and your prayers and your encouragement. It means more that you will ever know.
~Hermana Bethani Holloway
Pictures:
1. Sis. McKenzie and me (please try to ignore the elder in the background)
2. Reunited with my hija! (I'd forgotten how short she is...)
3. Helping Tati live the word of wisdom :)


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

APRIL GOT BAPTIZED!!!

So... apparently Colombus Day counts as a holiday for the Metropolitan Library System here in OKC. Everything does come to Oklahoma last so it doesn't really surprise me all that much. But that's why I'm emailing on Tuesday.
 
Anyways
 
ALOHA EVERYBODY!!!!!!!
 
This week was SO STINKIN AWESOME IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING!
 
As you can see, April did get baptized and confirmed this weekend. It was so great! Dylan baptized and confirmed her and it was the sweetest thing ever. They are just so perfect for each other. Pictures will be attached :)
 
What else happened this week...
 
We've been doing a lot of going home prep for my dear almost dead companion. We mailed her bike home, took funeral pictures after district meeting, weighed her bags, took pictures of her with everyone here (if I had a dollar for every picture that I took for her this week I'd have a lot of dollars), had a farewell dinner with our ward mission leader, and went to Lifechurch (it's one of the biggest nondenominational churches in OKC. Pretty much everyone who serves here tries to get invited at least once). We're pretty much ready to send her off now! Transfers are tomorrow, and the departing missionaries will fly out on Thursday. I'm actually really really sad about it. Sis. Adair and I got along super well and she's kind of like my long lost sister. Saying goodbye will be really difficult.
 
Oh, but cool story of the week! Sis. Adair has a twin brother who is serving his mission in S. Dakota right now. Not only do they fly home on the same day, but they fly home on the same plane. WHAT?!?!? It's pretty sweet. They fly into Denver together and then meet up and fly to Utah. I'm sure the moment that they both step off the plane will be magical.
 
I actually took a lot of pictures this week, so I think instead of just writing a bunch of words I'll send out a bunch of pictures.
 
And this morning we read this talk by Elder Lynn G. Robbins that's about being something, not just doing something. I'm trying really hard to focus not only on my example, but also on my motives so that I do the right things for the right reasons. We came to this earth not to do a bunch of things, but to become something. Doing is essential to becoming, but only if accompanied by the proper motives.
 
Have a great week! Jesus loves you! Go see Meet the Mormons if you haven't already done so!!
 
LOVE, 
 
Hermana Holloway
 
Pictures:
1. April's baptism
2. After the baptism
3. Zone p-day. We played kickball and broke a pi├▒ata.




4. Sis. Adair's dying day
5. Rainbow cake at the Speckmans



6. waiting to go into Lifechurch
7. at the temple with April and Dylan and Emmitt
8. Our district at P-day