Monday, March 24, 2014

6 Months What???? (March 17, 2014)

So tomorrow I hit my 6 month mark. I really can't believe it. I feel like I got here and also like I've been here forever. Pretty much in the same moment. Going on a mission is so weird!! Also I'm feeling really scatterbrained and squirrely (and eating a plate of delicious Southern food) right now so if this email makes no sense I blame it on that. 

First I would like to talk a little more about another reason why missionaries are so awkward. We pretty much have a unique sense of humor that nobody else understands yet we find to be so hilarious. Example: on Monday we had a zone P-day and part of that included playing Mafia all together (if you don't know what Mafia is you can look it up on the Google machine). Instead of just doing normal narrations the elder that was narrating decided that he would turn it into Book of Mormon. Basically, the Mafia became the Gadianton robbers, the angel was the Angel Gabriel, and the detective was Captain Moroni. WeLOVED it. It was like the funniest thing ever! 

Also, we really love to quote the Testaments (is the place of records far???), The Restoration (beware of pride boy. Your eternal soul is at stake!) and Finding Faith in Christ (Paz, calmaos). It's even better in Spanish (yo lo VI Jonas! yo lo VI!!!!) because the dubbed voices are really ridiculous. I realize that once I get home I really can't quote them anymore because nobody knows what I'm talking about... Sad day.

Here's some pictures!

We went to dinner with a family and made the most loaded pizzas I've ever seen in my life! They were delicious.

Jessica is a member that is preparing to go on a mission so she works with us a lot. She also crocheted me a panda pirate! His name is Raul.

Finally, Erin made her own pillow pet! She put her dog inside of a pillow, but it's the same idea.

Anyways something amazing that happened this week was that one of our investigators (the one that we helped move) called us and said that it was too much hassle to come all the way to Clinton from Thomas for church so she'd just go to a local church in Thomas instead. Naturally, we were pretty sad. We were pretty prepared to drop her when we heard from her again. She said that she'd prayed about it and gotten an answer that this is the true church so she was going to do all that she could to do to come to this one! It was so great! It was great to see that she had enough real intent to find out her answer by herself. It was just a testimony to me that we can't change people, only the Spirit can do that, and and our investigators always have their agency to change or not.

I think that's all I got this week. Sorry it wasn't all that profound, but I hope you liked it! I love you all!

~Hermana Holloway

This new Mormon message is great! Be nice :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tengo gozo en mi alma hoy!!

Well this week was fun and fabulous and full of Spanish milagros!! I think I'll start with the funny stuff first and then get to the more serious stuff at the end.
So first of all, sometimes the elders like to take my scarves and make them capes. For example: 

(PS remember how I bragged about knowing how to unsideways things? Well I guess that was actually false...)
Second funny story:
So earlier this week we were visiting this family like missionaries often do. They live way out in the country and have about a million dogs (Actually it's only 5 or 6, but sometimes it feels like a million). Some of the smaller, yappier dogs were locked up in their crate during our visit but started to get annoying (because of the yappiness) so the sister we were visiting decided to let them outside. There's one particular dog, though, that I knew would not listen. He's basically a very excited beanie baby (slash Yorkie) that is not really house trained, and he loves visitors. So instead of making a beeline for the door like the other, much more civilized dogs, he makes a beeline for us, specifically me. I think you can guess what happened next. In his excitement he lost all control of his bladder... and then after that we had to go home so I could change. Needless to say, a Yorkie will not furnish my future house.
Ok now do you wanna hear some Spanish milagros?! If not then just close the tab or something.
Milagro #1: (AKA the taco truck miracle) Hna. Loveland and I were driving to Clinton on Thursday and we were starting to get really hungry, but we didn't have dinner for another few hours. It got even worse right as we got off the freeway and saw all of the delicious restaurant choices that were available. Finally we saw the taco truck and just had to stop. At that moment, tacos were mandatory for our survival. (Sidenote, anyone who hasn't eaten at a taco truck should first, repent and eat at a taco truck, and second, stop thinking that Taco Bell actually know how to make tacos. I'm talking about carne asada on corn tortillas with cilantro and onions and chile with a pickled carrot for the "pica". Like how real Mexicans make their tacos. Or at least the ones who live in America. I've never been to Mexico.) (and now I'm hungry...) So we get our tacos and start talking to the guy in the truck and we find out that he had actually been visited by missionaries before and had had a Book of Mormon but he had loaned it to someone and never gotten it back. We asked him if he wanted another one, which we gave him and asked if we could come back and talk more about the evangelio. Of course he said yes so we're just going to eat at the taco truck all the time now. What a sacrifice ;). Hopefully we'll become besties and then he'll just give us tacos for free!
Milagro #2: Yesterday a random Spanish guy showed up to church! What?!? I was translating, so Hna. Loveland went over and gave him headphones so he could understand and tried to explain about the service but he stopped her and said that he was already a member. What?! He had just moved to Elk City and wanted to bring his huge family of Spanish speaking superhero members that have gone on missions and gone to the temple and make a Spanish branch in Clinton!! It's a Spanish missionary's dream come true!!! There is so much Spanish in Clinton that I really think that it could happen.

This week Hna. Loveland got a nasty bug so we had to stay in for most of Saturday. While we were stuck inside we listened to a really great talk by Sheri Dew that I recommend everyone read/listen to, especially if you are a woman. It's not on so I can't post the link, but the name starts with something like "4 Things that will wreck your life and the 4 things that will..." I don't remember the rest. Maybe my wonderful blogger mommy could find it for me on the Google machine. Anyways, it was very empowering for me. One point that she emphasizes is that as women we shouldn't backbite, gossip, judge, or try to hurt one another. She makes the statement that maybe the final judgment will be nothing compared to what we put ourselves and each other through in this life. It really made me think. One of the best attributes of the Savior was compassion. What would happen if we focused on compassion? If we tried to look for the good in others rather than the bad? I can guarantee you, you will find what you are looking for. So what are you looking for? What did the Savior look for? Notice the language that He uses in this part of D&C 78:17-18:
"Verily, verily, say unto you, ye are little childrenand ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;  And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheerfor will lead you along."
Is there anything condemning or judgmental in that tone? I am trying to recommit everyday to be compassionate and look for the good in others. Sometimes it's really difficult, especially when I look only at their actions and completely ignore the motives. But as I have prayed for charity, the Lord blesses me with it when I am being faithful and worthy of the Spirit. 

(Note from her mommy blogger assistant...I looked for the talk she referred to and it appears it is really a book/book on tape. It is available at Deseret Book and probably on Amazon. The full title is "4 Things That Will Wreck Your Life, and 4 Truths That Will Save It".)

Finally, I would like to share a quote by President Spencer W. Kimball about trials (it has nothing to do with anything that I've just said, but it's really good):
“If we looked at mortality as the whole of existencethen pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamityBut if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.
“… Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strengthsickness that we might learn patiencedeath that we might be immortalized and glorified?
“If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agencywould be ended. No man would have to live by faith.”
Love you all! The church is true! Life is good!
Con cariƱo,
Hermana Holloway
PS: this is Thomas, OK. AKA nothing. Except for that really big granary.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oklahoma Weather: if you don't like it, just wait 2 minutes, it'll change

I recognize that discussing the weather is generally viewed as a boring thing to do to occupy one's time, but I think that that really only applies to people outside of Oklahoma. Because the weather here isCRAZY and COOL and MAKES NO SENSE. For example, it will be 70 degrees, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous during the week, and then during the weekend it'll be 9 degrees with gale-force winds and snow. Basically that was last week. To make it even better, Okies
don't really know how to deal with snow, so whenever they get more than a skiff the whole town shuts down. Thus, I am sending this on a Tuesday rather than a Monday. We still got out, but the libraries were closed.
But anyways, you're probably all bored of me talking about the weather so let's talk about what happened this week!
There were definitely a lot of highlights:

For one thing, a lot of people that haven't been progressing are starting to progress again because of an object lesson that we've been using about priorities. We read the end of Matthew 6 (from verse 24 to the end I believe) then bring out a container2 small rubber ducks3 bouncy balls, and some rice. We tell them that each of these objects represents things that we have to do during our day, with the container representing the day. With the items spread out, we ask if they think that everything will fit. Most of the time they say no, then we tell them that we'll try and get them to fit. We start with the rice (which represents basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and sleep), then put in the bouncy balls (more important things like work, family, and school) and finally the rubber ducks (most important things, like church, prayer, and reading). When you put them in in that order, they don't fit and the things that get left out are the things of God. Sad, no? So then we ask what we can do to get everything to really fit. We start with the ducks, then the bouncy balls, then the rice just fills in the cracks and everything fits! What's the lesson? Well in Matthew we have a promise from Christ that if we put the things of God first then everything else will fall into place! So if you are feeling that you can't fit everything into your life, take a look at your priorities and see what you could do different. (the only downside is that if you do this around children they think that they get to keep the toys. Sometimes they're really sad when you don't let them and then you have to carry around other things to bribe them)
Another highlight happened when we were out knocking. A member of the Elders Quorum Presidency gave us a list of less-active members to go check on, and one of these names led us to an apartment complex but didn't provide an apartment number. So being the intrepid missionaries that we are we decided to knock them all until we could find this guy. As we stood there for a minute contemplating where to begin, a man pulled up in his car and called to us. We went over and he said that he was a member of the church but wasn't active and could really use a Priesthood blessing. We told him that we'd come by later that night with some Priesthood holders to help him out. We went by later on and he said that he'd been wayward for a while but was starting to feel a desire to come back. Some of the brothers in the ward were able to give him a blessing, and the whole event caused me to think about how Heavenly Father really cared for his lost sheep. If we had been a minute later he would've driven by without even seeing us. If we had been in our car instead of on bikes he might not have recognized us as missionaries. But Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom, knew what His son needed and placed us, His servants in his path so we could help him. I'm grateful that I was living worthy of the Spirit so I could follow its promptings in the subtle way that I did!
A second blessing that came out of that day is that we were able to eliminate 2 out of the 16 apartments and get a new investigator out of it!
Well I think that that's all I got for now. I've been really bad at taking pictures lately, so I don't even have any. Hopefully next week will be better!

Love you all! Have a simply amazing week!
~Hermana Holloway
Moroni 10:32-33

Was this a week or a year?

Small disclaimer: this email should've been sent out last week (2/24) but the internet broke right before I could send it. So please enjoy all of these words now :)
But seriously. I'm not sure. I can't believe that SO MUCH STUFF happened in just 7 days and that it went by SO QUICKLY.
So here's a run-down of my week:
MONDAY: We went to Clinton and played sports with the elders for p-day. Came back to Weatherford, ate dinner with some of my favorite members, taught Cody a lesson, then wandered around with another member for the last hour because our appointment fell through.
TUESDAY: We had exchanges! So our Sister Training Leaders (STLs) came up to the city at 9am, then Hna. Loveland left with one sister and I stayed in Weatherford with another. We biked, met with one of our investigators, started teaching her niece that just moved in with her, knocked some doors, took some of our investigators to a Relief Society activity, then slept forever because we were so tired.
WEDNESDAY: We went to the city to exchange back, then Hna. Lemke came back so she could go to Hugh's funeral, we went to lunch with a member (I love it when they pay for us :)) then went to the funeral where we got a bunch of weird looks because what are a bunch of Mormon missionaries doing at a perfectly Baptist funeral? I was glad that we got to go though and meet his family and it was really great to see Hna. Lemke. But the day was still not over! After that we went to Clinton because we were in charge of the mutual activity. We challenged the youth to see who could pass our more copies of the Book of Mormon, us or them. We had a super good turn out and the response from the youth was super positive, so I know that miracles are gonna happen! BUT IT STILL WASN'T OVER. Then we taught English class. And then my brain died and I slept.
THURSDAY: Weekly planning.................... that is all I have to say. Then we drove forever far away to Thomas to visit our new investigator that we helped move in on Sunday then we had Bible Study!
FRIDAY: We had district meeting! Then we went to see some Spanish folk! Then we ate dinner with a member at a Chinese Buffet! Then we saw another investigator! This day was actually pretty normal!
SATURDAY: We met with a family to help prepare their 8-year-old son for baptism. Because they're Spanish the bishop is having us plan their baptism so that's been super fun. But we talked about baptism and the Holy Ghost and he seemed so excited! Then we taught our investigator and her niece and Renee (the niece) really likes the Restoration and she wants to get baptized! We almost set a date with her! Hopefully we'll have one next time. And then we said good-bye to another investigator who's moving to Montana and it turns out that HE'S ACTUALLY A BUFFALO HUNTER WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH THE COOLEST THING EVER. After my mission I'm going buffalo hunting with Hermana Loveland and him. It's a done deal. I wish we could still teach him because he's awesome!
SUNDAYTHIS WAS THE CRAZIEST DAY EVER but I'm getting tired of typing and I'm sure you're tired of reading this so I'll make it quick. Ready? Translating Sacrament meeting, Spanish Sunday School, 8 year old Spanish kids get baptized, delicious Mexican treats, usual lunch with awesome members and elders, Spanish lessons x2, brain dies, collapse on bed, sleep.....
So yeah it's been an awesome week! We've seen a lot of miracles and I absolutely LOVE these people and this area! The church is true and life is good!

~Hermana Holloway

Hermana Loveland and I when our former compas came to see us :)

Hugh Taylor with his cat Felix. (and Hermana Lemke) I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that I FIGURED OUT HOW TO UNSIDEWAYS THE PICTURES!! TAKE THAT COMPUTER!!