Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Exchanges and endodontists and exhaustion

So I'm pretty sure endodontist is a word but Google doesn't think so. This might be the first time I've ever been smarter than the Internet (or I could be completely wrong). But as the title alludes to, we had a really busy week that left me completely exhausted by yesterday! Hopefully P-day recharges those batteries! We'll actually have to go pretty quickly because we're going disc golfing with one of the families the elders are working with.

Sis. Lemmo and I got to go on exchanges though! It was a party! We just had a blast being back together as companions and reminiscing about the good old days in Choctaw. We had 2 doctor's appointments during exchanges, one for her and one for me. It makes no sense. My whole mission I've had perfect health and now all of the sudden my body wants to fall apart! I think there's a good reason we're not expected do to this forever. The stress would kill you. But it was just great to be with her again. 

We also took a road trip to Ada to exchange with the sisters there. If you haven't heard of it that's ok. There aren't even any freeways that go to Ada. You have to take dark and sketchy backroads to get there and you pass at least 1 prison on the way. It was a fun trip, though, and I love road trips like that :).

Our last exchange was a mini-mission with Emmerling, one of our recent converts that's 20 and wants to serve a mission. We had a pretty good day with her and it was kind of a welcome break to the daily routine. We had to have the zone leaders drop off an extra mattress for her to sleep on, and when we got there our apartment looked like this:

Very funny elders.

In case you can't tell from the tone of the email, it's just been a struggle kind of week. In the past I've tried to be upbeat and pretend like nothing's wrong, but I've had enough experience with weeks like this that I know that it will end and often a lot sooner that I expect. There are very real and difficult challenges that come with living life here on earth and I think that we can acknowledge these trials with faith and hope, understanding that it won't last forever and that ultimately we will be better because of it. Yesterday I was studying about patience, and I came across this scripture in Romans 5:3-5:

We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

There are a lot of things that you can get from that scripture, but one thing that I noticed is that tribulation leads to patience, patience leads to experience, and experience leads to hope. However, this is not unconditional. We have to rely on the Spirit in order to complete this positive cycle. Otherwise, our tribulations lead to anger, our anger causes us to harden our hearts, and the hardening of our hearts leads to despair. We can choose the positive spiral or the negative one. One leads to hope, and the other despair. So throughout the trials that I'm passing through right now I'm praying my guts out and relying on the Spirit to experience the positive cycle. 

Don't worry about me though. I'll be my chipper self next week, or maybe just after we play disc golf :).

I love all y'all! And I hope you have a wonderful and happy week.


Hermana Holloway

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The best part about Noble is...

...the fact that we can email at OU again! Which means we get the really really nice Macs that are easy to type on :DD.

Just kidding. That's just the thing that I'm currently most excited about.

But Noble really is a wonderful place!! I went to church for the 2nd time yesterday and just loved it. And then we went to dinner out in the boonies and I felt right at home. The kids asked me what I liked to do when I was at home and I said that I like to go to the beach and go to amusement parks and stuff like that and they were just like "we've never seen a beach. The only amusement park we've been to is Frontier City. We like to rope and go 4 wheeling and ride horses!"

The difference between city people and country people.

We had some exciting stuff come up this week, though.


It was so happy!! He was just beaming and after he came over to all of the missionaries (there were quite a few there) and he thanked us all and said that if it wasn't for us he wouldn't be where he is. I beg to differ, because we are just vessels of the Spirit, but it was really nice to hear regardless. I feel like even though it took Andy a little while to make the commitment, now that he's there he won't waver because he has truly become converted. 

Also while I was at the baptism stake youth conference was going on at the church building so I saw a few of the youth from Weatherford. It was such a tender mercy and proof that God is in the details of our lives. I just miss all the people from my past areas so much! Every single person I've met out here on my mission has left a mark on me, whether they know it or not.


By this point I've actually gotten to know her a little bit. She was just so ready to get baptized. It was a very spiritual experience and all of her kids were there including her daughter's boyfriend. Now we really want to focus on the kids, because we think they can all get baptized on Feb 14th, which is Sis. Stokes' last weekend on the mission. It would just be perfect because she's worked with this family her whole time in Noble and I really think that the kids can make it to then. We taught her twin sons, Trey and Hayden, and they both said that they want to find out if it's true and we took Makenzee to Young Women's and she loved it! Just pray that it all works out. They are working to be sealed!

#3: WE HAVE THE BEST SISTERS IN THE MISSION! We've started this transfer's round of exchanges, and these sisters are just incredible. They work hard and love the Lord and us and the zone leaders are just trying to keep faith high. Everytime we have a cool miracle we text it to the zone leaders and they forward it to the whole zone. It's incredible to see amazing miracles that don't just happen in another zone or mission, but right here in Norman. When's the last time you shared a missionary or spiritual experience? It could really help someone with faith that you might not know is wavering. Imma leave y'all with a commitment: share a missionary or spiritual experience with someone this week! Will y'all do that? WONDERFUL :). I promise you that your faith and testimony will increase as you do so.

#4: I DON'T REALLY KNOWN WHAT TO CALL THIS ONE! It was just kind of a funny story. We were filling up the car on the way to Andy's baptism Friday when this guy came up to me (Sis. Stokes stayed in the car while I pumped the gas) and said 

"Hey my friend wants your number!" 

My first thought was "what a great way to share the gospel!", so I pull out a pass along card with such zeal that probably made the poor guy believe that I was actually going to give him my number and said "I'm actually a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!" 

Now the guy looked positively dumbfounded but he tried to play it off all smooth and said, "well people say church girls are crazy. Does that mean you're crazy?"

(Missionary tip #269874357, if you want to make sharing the gospel more natural, always try to make the person you're sharing it with laugh. May not be applicable to all situations. See following example.) "Oh yeah! For sure!"

His response: "Well I love crazy! ....so can I have your number?"

Then I had to explain to the poor guy that as a missionary I'm not allowed to date anyone but if he'd like I could send missionaries over to teach him! (he looked like a young single, so we wouldn't teach him)

He explained (looking a little deflated) that he already goes to church and stuff and isn't really interested. 

I gave him the card, told him to visit mormon.org and cheerily bid him a good day. 

Hopefully he gets baptized someday!

It was pretty funny though. I think that's the first time that some random stranger has asked for my phone number like that :). 

So moral of the story is... always keep pass along cards with you so you can share the gospel with random guys that hit on you.

Well that was my week! Hope you liked it! 


~Hermana Bethani Holloway

Scripture of the week-John 21:15-17

So when they had dined, the sister missionary saith to her friends, family, and acquaintances, people, lovest thou me more than these? They saith unto her, Yea, sister missionary; thou knowest that we love thee. She saith unto them, fill my mailbox.

She saith to them again the second time, people, lovest thou me? They saith unto her, Yea, sister; thou knowest that we love thee. She saith unto them, fill my mailbox.
She saith unto them the third time, people, lovest thou me? They were grieved because she said unto them the third time, Lovest thou me? And they said unto her, sister, thou knowest that we love thee. The sister missionary saith unto them, fill my mailbox.

BUT really ;)

Monday, January 12, 2015

One of those year-long weeks again!


As you can tell from the title, this week was a LONG one! I don't understand it. They all have (wait a second while I do math on the calculator) 168 hours, how come sometimes they feel like they have 168,000??

BUT it has been a very good week. I was able to get 6 months of stuff from the Village to Noble and say good-bye to most of the people that I love most there. I was so excited to leave, but right now it's pretty bittersweet. Plus now I'm getting to know a whole new set of people and I only have 6 weeks to do it, because that's when Sis. Stokes goes home! It'll be good, though. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the ward has given me a really warm welcome. It's funny, because of the 9 sisters that have served here in living memory, 6 of them have ended their missions here. Everyone knows that Sis. Stokes is about ready to go home, and they already expect me to be here for 3 months and then leave. I was trying to keep that fact on the DL, but the Noble ward was too smart for that. 

All is well, though. I'm back in the same zone as my daughter Sis. Lemmo and I also get to serve around a lot of missionaries that I served around before, including some of my favorite leaders. We're also trying to change things around here and tap into the enormous potential that this place has. We've been working with the zone leaders to set goals and make plans to help every individual missionary and area. It's really exciting stuff! (I know it doesn't really sound like it from my description, but I promise you it is. I'm so pumped and stoked to be a missionary right here and right now!!!)

We also have a couple baptisms coming up. The sisters here have been working with a lady named Kim who's getting baptized on Saturday. Her husband was baptized in November, and we're hoping to start teaching her teenage kids so the whole family can be brought into the gospel!

We'll also be taking a road trip back to the city this Friday for Andy's baptism!!!!!!

(Yay for a library system that lets me do pictures the fun way! Also, this guy's getting baptized!!)


It'll be nice to see everyone again and to see Andy receive this saving ordinance. He is just so ready. 

What else should I say.... Sis. Stokes is a baller. 

(Don't judge how I look too hard. It was really windy.)

She's my 4th companion from Utah (Orem) and she is just a people person and really good at helping people feel her love. She's also a weightlifter, which is sweet. I told her she has to teach me. 

Whelp I think that's about all I have to say! Life is good. The book is blue, the church is true, Jesus loves YOU! And always remember that this Okie missionary loves you too :). Have an amazing, miracle-filled week!


Sister Holloway

All good things must come to an end

Hey howdy hey family and friends!!!!! 
Greetings from frigid Oklahoma!! 
Where the wind comes sweeping down from Canada and chills you to the bone! 
But it's also the best place in the world, hands down.
We just found out that I'm leaving the Village after being here for about 6 months. It's a bittersweet moment for sure. I have absolutely LOVED this area because of all of the work that has happened. I have seen many many people come closer to Jesus Christ and many changes of heart. It has been a fulfilling and satisfying 4 transfers! I feel like in the Village I finally was able to be an effective missionary. In Norman and Weatherford I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Choctaw taught me the skills that I needed and humbled me enough to rely fully on the Lord. And here in the Village I have applied everything that I've learned and used it to help those around me. And with about 3 months left, I'm redoubling my efforts to make them the best 3 months of my mission. I'm very excited for the challenges that are ahead!
And now for where I'm going! I'm being sent to serve in Noble, OK! For those of you keeping score at home, Noble is a small town a few miles south of Norman. It is also in the same zone as Norman 3 Spanish North, where I started my mission, as well as Norman 2 East, where Sister Lemmo is serving. So my baby and I will get to go on exchanges and I'll get to do exchanges in my first area!!! I've been praying and praying to end my mission there and I know that Heavenly Father will give us our righteous desires because He loves us more than we can comprehend. He is our Father!
I'll be coming back to the Village soon, though, because Andy Wood is getting baptized on January 16th! There's NO way I'm missing that one, because I've been teaching him since September and his change of heart has been the greatest.
We also were able to set a baptismal date with Ramon for February 14th! He and Stephanie both came to church on Sunday with their kids. 
Also one of our members (sis. Fahey) invited one of her friends over on New Year's Eve for dinner along with us and she had questions so we ended up teaching her about the Restoration and she invited us over to come over Wednesday for dinner and to teach her more! The on Sunday Sis. Fahey got up and bore a beautiful testimony about the experience and it made me realize how much of an impact we all can make in other people's lives as we share and invite them to live the Gospel of Christ, because that is the ULTIMATE source of happiness.
I love you all and I hope that your New Year is wonderful!
Sister Bethani Holloway 
(who most likely will stay in English for the rest of her mission... and is surprisingly ok with that :) )
1. New Year's Eve with the Faheys.
2. Elder Gardner's funeral. He was my zone leader for 4 transfers (2 in Choctaw and 2 here). We'll be sad to see him go! this is also an accurate representation of strange missionary culture.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 and Rescuing in Unity

ALOOOOOOHA friends and family :)
So this week... was a lovely week... full of sunshine and wonderfulness.
And some of you got the privilege as well of speaking to my sunshiny face. Congratulations.
Really, though, with Christmas and everything else this week was just fabulous. It was pretty INSANE, though. For all you current and future missionaries out there, I do NOT recommend having 2 exchanges, a major religious holiday with its accompanying preparation day (AKA Christmas and Christmas Eve), and a baptism planned for the same 7 day period. At the end of said 7 day period you might only be able to barely function. 
BUT we still had some substantial miracles. 
for example... 
MIMI GOT BAPTIZED!!!! It was a very very happy day. I've been working with this chica for 6 months and I have seen such a massive change in her. At the beginning she just wanted to be a spectator. Now she realizes WHY she needs the gospel as well as what it will do for her life. It was just amazing. I'm SO proud of her!
The only downside is that her baptism means that we only have 1 investigator (Andy) so we've been finding a lot and working with our members, etc. Well the other day we finally had our FIRST NEW INVESTIGATOR IN LIKE 6 WEEKS! It was amazing. So there's this lady named Stephanie who randomly showed up at church and decided to get active after being away from church for about 10 years. She is married to a man named Ramon who is NOT a member (yet!) and we wanted to get to know her and her husband better so we set up an appointment to go visit them. When we first got there he wasn't there (boo!) and we asked Stephanie if he'd be interested she said NO WAY which was a little discouraging but when he got home he sat right down on the couch and listened to our spiritual though from Mosiah 24. We had no idea what we were going to say, but the Spirit guided us to ask him if we could teach him. He said we could and that he wants to get right with God again. After he said this Stephanie couldn't stop beaming. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon in between our visit and set a return appointment. It was amazing, one of those lessons where you walk away not knowing anything that you just said. What makes it even better is right across the way from them a cute typical Mormon family that is strong in the church just moved in. Coincidence? I think not. Heavenly Father ALWAYS has a plan.
I've also been pondering lately about the idea of councils, because the church has a lot of them. I was especially thinking about the ward council, because it is perhaps one of the most important councils in the church. This morning I reread Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong's talk on the subject, and I love the analogy he uses of the man afflicted with palsy. I also love that the full-time missionaries are part of this rescue effort. I have spent a lot of effort trying to be integrated into the Village Ward because I believe that all of the phases of the work of salvation can be hastened if the missionaries are an integral part of the ward council and are used and given assignments in all rescue efforts. This is my favorite quote from the talk:
Do we know anyone in our life who is afflicted with spiritual palsy, someone who just cannot come back to the Church by himself or herself? He or she could be one of our children, one of our parents, spouse, or friend.
With so many more full-time missionaries now available in each Church unit, it will be wise for bishops and branch presidents to make better use of their ward and branch councils. The bishop can invite each member of the ward council to come with list of names of those who may need assistance. Members of the ward council will counsel together carefully on how they might best help. Bishops will listen attentively to the ideas and make assignments.
Full-time missionaries are great resources to the wards in these rescue efforts. They are young and full of energy. They love to have list of specific names of people to work with. They enjoy working together with ward members. They know these are great finding opportunities for them. They are devoted to establishing the Lord’s kingdom. They have strong testimony that they will become more Christlike as they participate in these rescuing efforts.
I know this doesn't apply to everyone, but it's certainly made me ponder about how Heavenly Father has given us these ward councils to bless His children.
Well anyways, I love all y'all and I hope you have wonderful weeks! Keep calm and preach the Gospel!!
~Sis. Holloway

1. Mimi's baptism :)
2. Christmas Eve nativity at the Wilkinson's