Monday, February 17, 2014

The Plan of Salvation

So this week was pretty darn dandy. We saw a lot of miracles, probably the best of which was another trip to the temple that's one every month happy happy happy!!!

(this is the most normal of the pictures that we took with the district... those elders)
Then on Friday it was Valentine's Day! Which was a perfectly normal day..... except we ate some awesome cups of dirt (AKA pudding and Oreos) provided by my lovely Mamie (it's a cup with dirt in it! I call it cup of dirt). Exciting.

And then (sorry don't have a cool picture for this one) we got a referral from the elders that work in Mustang (google it) that one of their investigators that really wants to get baptized is moving into our ward so would we please help her move and then teach her and then baptize her? Sure we can do that! We grabbed some men to help lift things and we got her truck (which took her like 2 days to pack) cleared out in about 2 hours. Nobody moves like the Elder's Quorum. Plus all of our members were super friendly and invited her to pretty much every single activity that the ward is having ever. That's the way to do it! So hopefully we can start teaching her (she lives like 20 miles away... ouch) and she loves our ward and the gospel!
Also this week we found out that one of our investigators (kind of my favorite investigator to be honest) passed away. He was the really open-minded Baptist preacher named Hugh. I loved teaching him because it was challenging and he had such a strong desire to learn. However, Heavenly Father called him home, and how can I argue with that? This has caused me to reflect on the Plan of Happiness that governs our lives. The simple truth of the matter is that this life is not everything. It can't be. In the Book of Mormon we learn that "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:32) What does that mean? We are here to PREPARE. What are we preparing for? ETERNITY! So it is not everything, but it is essential. We came to this earth to learn and grow and stretch and gain experience so that one day, much like the servants in the parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:14-30, or watch this video) we can go before our Lord and hear him say "well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou in the joy of thy Lord". So with that in mind, what are we doing with our lives? Are we using our talents? Are we preparing? If not, I would encourage you to prepare, because "ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matt 25:13). I'm grateful for the opportunity that I had to help Hugh Taylor prepare for further instruction in the Spirit World, and I hope that he accepts the true gospel there.
I'm grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary, especially for the ups and downs. I know that I am growing stronger through this experience in ways that never would have been possible otherwise. Love you all. Thanks for your support, love, mail, and prayers.
Con mucho cariño,
Hermana Holloway
PS: did you notice how I'm gettin' all fancy with those hyperlinks? Technology has been conquered!
PPS: here's a moonrise. If you know me well at all you will know that I LOVE moonrises. Especially in the country (and the beach, and pretty much everywhere)

Monday, February 10, 2014

LDS Missions: Awkward and Fun!

So I thought I'd begin this email by addressing a subject that I haven't dared to address yet:
For us, normal moments are awkward and awkward moments are SUPER DE DOOPER AWKWARD. It's just a fact. Like when you knock on a door and you expect that you knocked on a former investigator's house but instead it turns out that you knocked on the door of someone that you've had nothing but awkward encounters with. Or when you go to sit on your investigator's couch and you sit on their yappy dog. Awkward. Or, how about  EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU TRY TO MAKE SMALL TALK IN SPANISH! I mean, I'm pretty bad at small talk in general. That's normal. But when you go into a Spanish person's house and they're blasting Univision and staring at the TV so they can avoid talking to you and you try to make small talk with them... it's pretty bad. And AWKWARD. Most of the time we go into situations knowing that it will be awkward, and we just say "oh well!" and we do it anyways. So if you ever see a missionary being awkward, don't think they're weird. They have no control over the situation.
(I don't know how to make this not double spaced and it's not worth my time... So sorry.)But anyways, enough of that.
Last P-Day we went to the Route 66 Museum in Elk city, and it was loads of fun! Here's the district on this old train car thing:

And then on Wednesday we had transfers! I had to say good-bye to my comp and my District Leader, but I got Hermana Loveland!

(this is transfers. It was really cold and windy, so we didn't mingle in the parking lot for as long as we usually do)
The only bad thing is Hermana Loveland left her voice in Enid... when she came here she could barely whisper. So first she asked the advice of another elder in our district...

... He recommended salsa and jelly on toast. It's not actually as bad as it sounds. But it didn't get her voice back. Then we consulted a member who was a doctor, and he said we'd just have to wait. So we did and it finally came back on Saturday!
We had a great church tour with our Baptist preacher investigator, and he felt the Spirit a lot. Cody is still progressing and is making friends with a lot of the members. We brought him over to a member's house for a lesson on Saturday and then they invited him over for dinner Sunday! What champs.
Then Sunday came. And the roads were covered with black ice. And they cancelled church (nooooooooooo!!!). I was pretty upset because church is like a refuge. The rest of the week is just CRAZY, but at church you know you'll feel the Spirit and be uplifted. So not being able to go was no bueno. Then on top of that cars were grounded, so we'd have to walk. We really didn't want to because it was cold so we stayed in the apartment and I murmured a bit about the weather and our cars and basically had a huge lack of faith. Then finally we left and put our trust in God. Literally a block away from our apartment we met this guy that wants us to come over and teach him, and my faith was strengthened. Later on we saw so many more miracles that I just knew that God was in control so why should I murmur? Have faith, and everything will work out.
Well that's all I have time for. I hope you all have a loverly week and if I fail to respond to your letters in a while it's not because I hate you or don't want mail. P-Days are just REALLY busy.
Hermana Holloway
PS: Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 and be happy :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thrusting in Our Sickle

Oklahoma sunsets are gorgeous. Just about as gorgeous as Hawaii, and I didn't think that'd ever be possible.
¡Aloha! This week just FLEW by. We got out transfer calls yesterday, and I'm going to be taking over Weatherford! Hermana Lemke's leaving me for the Garden of Enid as we call it. It's basically NW Oklahoma. I get Hermana Loveland, about whom I know nothing but I'm sure she's wonderful!! Two of our four elders are leaving as well, which is something I'm pretty sad about. We're so far away from civilization out here (eg, Oklahoma City) and we all serve in the same ward so we just get so close and transfer time is always bittersweet. The friendships that I've made out here I never want to lose!
We did a lot of walking at the beginning of this week because we didn't have miles and a lot of driving at the end because it was a new month and we had miles! We saw a LOT of country, and even took a field trip to look for a Spanish referral that we had in the boonies of Elk City! That was fun. Let's just say it's a good thing we took the Elders' truck! It's also been a little bit challenging to see our people because of the plague that's going around (AKA the flu). All too often we knock on someone's door only to discover that they're all dying and quarantining themselves!
But despite all of the above challenges we have been having great success and miracles. For example, we had a couple of Spanish investigators that we weren't sure were progressing, so we prayed to know if we should drop them or not. Well at our next visits, one asked some really good questions about the Book of Mormon and expressed doubt in the Catholic way of baptizing children, and the other couple was actually together for once so we taught the Law of Chastity and they want to get married just don't know how to do it in this country (now we're in charge of figuring out how that all works... I guess it'll be good prep for later in life)! So we just keep working hard.
Here's the answer to your questions:

Is there anything you need? More miles? that would be super nice ;)
Who are you teaching? Our main focus right now is Cody, our recent convert, and Hugh, our Baptist preacher. We're teaching a mezcla of other Spanish and English folk, and I love them all but can't remember all of them!
How are things going with your companion? Well she's leaving me... sad day. But we get along super great otherwise! She's a lot like my cousin Megan.
How are you liking Weatherford now? I LOVE WEATHERFORD!!!! The people here are hilarious and it's kinda like a Spanish branch with English speaking people. Good transition. I don't think I could handle just a straight up English ward.
Share some scriptures you've been reading with us and what they mean to you and why...just one or two...I'm not trying to give you homework but I love it when you share scriptures.
Lately we've been doing a lot of Addiction Recovery, so I've been thinking a lot about repentance. One scripture that has stuck out to me is D&C 58:42-43. Repentance is the easiest and hardest thing to do. It involves letting go of all pride, all self-righteousness, all justifications, and confessing and forsaking our sins. It's simple to understand and difficult to execute, but the results are beyond amazing. It means continual improvement and application of the Atonement to our lives. Jesus Christ already paid the price, so why do we hold on?
That's about all I have time for, but I love you all!!! Keep on keepin' on, work hard, and see miracles! Hasta la próxima!
-Hermana Holloway

We love Clinton! That's where the Spanish folk are.

because all of Weatherford is ours, we say that everything the light touches belongs to us. That's what this picture is depicting :). Also D&C 4.