Week #11: Where has 2014 gone?!

I hope everyone had such a wonderful Christmas and that they bring in the new year with something fun! I can't believe it's almost 2015! What the heck! Time is just FLYIN'!
 
Christmas on a mission is definitely a different experience. I was able to truly feel the TRUE meaning of the holiday all day long. What an awesome opportunity to share the gospel message on the day we celebrate Christ's birth! I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be a missionary. We ate so much that day... luckily it was all good (normal) stuff! haha

Again, thank you thank you for all the Christmas cheer. I have the most wonderful support system in the world! I'm so lucky to have such amazing family and friends. So, THANKS! But, the best gift I received was SKYPE! That made my heart SO happy!!

 
The rest of the week was great! We set a BCD (Baptism Date) with one of our investigator's, Daphne! We are so so so excited! She is such an amazing person, and I just love her so much. The missionaries have been working with her for just under a year, and we are so proud of her! Her baptism is planned for the end of January. So keep her in your prayers as she prepares for this special day!
 
Sister Rohwer. You guys. I ADORE Sister Rohwer. She is the biggest sweetheart in the world. I've loved her since the first time I talked to her on the phone when we found out she was going to be transferred here! She is from Logan, Utah and is just such an incredible lady. We get along SO well, and have so much in common. I am so so excited for this transfer, and we have already hit the ground running and have so many awesome goals set. She is just so great.
 
We are working with Grandma Nash helping her get to the temple. She is doing so well, and has progressed so much! I love her with all my heart and soul. She adopts all the missionaries she works with, and she truly is my Callaway Grandma! We are praying that this new year brings her the blessings of the temple and that eternal happiness.
 
I am SO grateful to be a missionary! I have learned so much about myself and about the gospel. This is an experience that is so precious, and beautiful, and I have the privilege of being right in the middle of it! My heart is always full of so much happiness and love towards God's children.
 
 
I've been reading in 2 Nephi, and I have just gotten SO much out of it lately. (I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES) As I was reading in 2 Nephi 8 I came upon verse 3 and just loved it. Be Christlike, be obedient, live the gospel joyfully because one day the Lord will come, and he will comfort Zion and we will be filled with joy and gladness, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Life is hard, but it IS worth it!
 
I love you all so much and appreciate all the prayers on my behalf. I can feel them helping me and bearing me up when things get difficult.
 
The Happiest Missionary in the South,
 
Sister Holmes


ps- my white Christmas was on the beach... and that indeed is a jelly fish. Say what!



Week #10: A Christmas Surprise

Before I begin, here's another ginormous THANK YOU to all those who have sent me Christmas cards, letters, and packages! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! It makes my heart so happy! I have the best family/friends around. Thank you!
So this week was good! We had a district activity on Tuesday and we played football! It was so much fun. Am I coordinated? No. Am I out of shape? Yes. But it was a good time! We did white elephant gifts and I ended up with a manicure set and a doo-rag. haha 
We had a lot of great lessons this week, and ended up getting a bunch of referrals, so we are super excited about that! We're making progress on some of the people we are working with
 and it's so great. The work is a little slow, but it's picking up.

Our house right now is full of yummy Christmas treats... and my self control is zero... but who cares! it's the holidays, right?! 
We went caroling last night with some ward members and it was a ton of fun, we visited a lot of the people we are working with and went back to the church for hot chocolate and cookies. It was rainy rainy, but lots of fun! 
Now for the Christmas surprise.... Friday night we get a call from President Smith. (insert heart drop.) The first thing he says is "How are you and Sister Charles getting along?" What the! So we said good... THEN! He begins to tell us that there are two super awesome sisters that need some help, and asked me how I would feel about being transferred and TRAINING one of them! I about DIED! I'm not even finished with my training yet! So he said he would get back to us Saturday with the final decision, he just wanted to give us a heads up. So we exchanged Christmas gifts Friday night, not knowing what was going to happen. Saturday rolls around and I am dyin all morning. We finally talked to President and he told us that Sister Charles will be the one to transfer and train, and I'll stay here in Callaway and work with the other sister! PHEW! haha So I'll finish my 12 week training here, but train the new sister around the area. So it should be interesting! Sister Charles heads out to Pensacola tomorrow, and Sister Rohwer is coming back with me! She's from Logan, Utah! So that's awesome. I have talked to her on the phone a few times and she sounds like such a sweet heart. It's so crazy that it's all happening the day before Christmas Eve, but I'm so excited and it'll be a good change!
Not much else to report on this week, but I want to leave you with one of my absolute favorite scriptures! It's 3 Nephi 13:21. GO FIND YOUR TREASURE!! :)
I hope you all have the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! I can't believe it's already here! I love you all and pray for you all everyday!
I'M OFF TO PANAMA CITY BEACH! woohoo!

LOVE YOU!
Sister Holmes

Week #9: Callaway Round 2


I'm here in Callaway for another transfer with Sister Charles! We are ready to hit the ground runnin this transfer, and are so excited to be able to continue working with our families out here.


First of all... T H A N K  Y O U,  T H A N K  Y O U,  T H A N K  Y O U   for all the Christmas packages and cards! I am completely overwhelmed by them all! My district keeps teasin me that it's a "greeny Christmas", but I love it! I wish I could hug every single one of you! THANK YOU!


This week was so great! On Monday Sister Charles and I got to go to Mexico Beach with a cute member and her son, and it was GORGEOUS. I didn't want to leave. We had the greatest time, and there was no one there. (We were on the Tyndall Air Force Base beach) so it was awesome. Then, that night we met up with 8 other sisters and headed out to Tallahassee to spend the night in a trailer in a near by town. 8 sisters in one tiny trailer and 1 working bathroom? yep. haha definitely some memories made there! 
 
Tuesday morning, we drove to Tally for our half mission conference where over 100 of us missionaries came together! It was SO MUCH FUN! I was able to see all but 2 of my MTC family! It was so great to catch up with everyone and hear their stories of the work. President and Sister Smith spent so much time putting the conference together, and it turned out amazing. We had a little program, Sister Smith narrated, and a ton of missionaries did a bunch of musical numbers. Then we had lunch from Sonny's BBQ and then sat in a GIANT circle to introduce districts and zones and do a stocking exchange! It was so much fun. 
 
 Sister Crandall (her and her husband are the senior couple in our zone) had me, and she stuffed my stocking full! She is such a sweet lady. Then... WE GOT TO WATCH MEET THE MORMONS! It's about time! Did I cry my eyes out the entire time? You betcha! But man! It was so so good. We drove home that night and got stuck in traffic big time. We were at a stand still for 45 minutes, but some of the sisters in my car went and talked to a bunch of cars and did some He is the Gift messages. It was awesome.
Wednesday we had lunch with our Potential, Joe. You guys. I LOVE HIM. He is THE sweetest man ever. Ready for what we ate?..... SHRIMP BOIL. Ahhh! It was better than I thought, but yeesh. This seafood is going to be a struggle for me! But he also made a homemade blueberry cheesecake and sweet potato pie. Holy delicious! We had a great time with him. He's not interested in lessons, but we are just trying to befriend him and casually bring up gospel topics to help plant that seed. He wants us to come back for Christmas, so we're going to try to stop by. He's just so sweet.
We were able to work with our focus families again, and man. It has been an emotional roller coaster! There is a BIG drug problem down here, and it breaks my heart for the little kids that can't escape it in there homes. We've been working extremely intently with the Bishop with multiple families, and I just want to hug those kids so tight. Oh, the struggle! But, the work goes on, and the Atonement is ALWAYS available. Pray for these families...

On the bright side, our Returning Member, Sarah, is doing SO GOOD! My heart is so happy! She is progressing like crazy! So is Grandma Nash, and a few others.
We have biked SO MUCH this past week, and I LOVE IT! Biking in a skirt is... fun... but I seriously love biking out here. If you ask me again in February, then again in the dead of Summer, I may say something different, but right now? LOVE. We get to talk to so many amazing people, and the weather is perfect! A little chilly, but not too bad. My legs sure are feelin it! Ah, gotta love the burn!

Also, along with shrimp, I had homemade southern fried chicken (delish), butter cream cake (also delish), and SUGAR CANE (not delish)! The food down here! I'm tellin ya!
Since we are getting closer to Christmas, I want to share with you a little quote from Chieko Okazaki from the book Stars Were Gleaming by Greg Olsen (THANKS MOM!)
"The star in the heavens was not the only star or the most important star. The star within the heart of the wise men was the important star. After all, if the star was in the sky for all to see then hundreds of thousands of people would have seen it and thousands of people could have wondered at its meaning, and hundreds could have followed it...with hope and patience. Only [ the wise men ] kneeled before the young child, Jesus. They had a star within that enabled them to see the star without. They saw it with the eyes of faith, and it brought them to Jesus."

I love this so much. This week, and for the rest of this holiday season, find the star in your heart. Follow it's light. Find the Savior. Live the gospel. Be humble and obedient like the wisemen, and give him the gift of your heart this Christmas.

I love you all beyond what words can express. Thank you for your continued love and support! It means more than I could ever say.
Have a super awesome week!
So Much Love,
SISTER HOLMES:)


A happy, smiling day in Callaway!
Uhhh.... A little stress relief, maybe???

Week 8: #ShareTheGift

HELLO! This week was a great week full of progress and growth! Sister Charles and I set a goal to work on asking for referrals talking to everyone (for some reason we have been having a hard time remembering to do that) and we got SO MANY! We are so excited to contact them all, and pray that they are ready to receive the gospel! 

We also have a few new potentials that we are excited about, but one in particular that I want to share with you is Joe. We were driving home from an appointment one night and I saw this house with what seemed like millions of Christmas lights. So naturally, I had to go past it to take a picture! This sweet man was out passing candy canes to all the cars and people who came by. We exchanged candy canes for a pass along card, and ended up getting out to talk to him. He and his wife have been doing the lights for 27 years, and his wife just died a few months ago. He cried talking about how much he misses her and how hard the holidays have been. Anyway, we offered to come help him pass out the candy canes the following night, and he appreciatively accepted. So the next night we went over, and it was so much fun. He plays the Elvis Christmas Album every night, and we got to know him so much more. He was asking us questions about missionary work, and he was definitely intrigued by why we do it. THEN he invited us over for lunch next week AND for Christmas dinner! We are so excited, and so is he. He's making us Shrimp Boil (please pray for me... haha) and homemade blueberry cheesecake. He is SUCH a sweetheart and I love him so much already. He has gained the nickname "Grizzwald" because his house is so full of lights. It made me laugh and think of Dad. We are praying that he accepts the lessons and gains a testimony of this gospel! 
Our less actives have been progressing so much and we have definitely seen a huge change in all our families! It's been awesome to watch people learn and grow. keep them all in your prayers!

We had the ward Christmas Party and that was super fun. We dressed up and the theme was Little Town of Bethlehem. It was SO CUTE and the Christmas spirit was so strong. Our ward is so great!

The days have flown by, and the weather has been nuts. I was sweating one day, freezing the next, sweating the next day, and it felt like a tundra the next. What the! But I can't complain, at least I'm not out in the snow! 
As I was reading the Conference talks from October, I was reading "The Reason for Our Hope" by President Boyd K. Packer. He states that "His mercy is the mighty healer, even to the wounded innocent... The true success of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be measured by spiritual strength of its individual members."

I loved that. He IS the mighty healer, for all trials, sicknesses, and ailments. We also need to strive to strengthen our faith through all situations. He is there. He is with us. He knows us, and he loves us. 
If you haven't heard, the church is doing a Christmas message called He is the Gift. (John 3:16) When you get a minute, go to christmas.mormon.org and watch it. Discover the Gift, Embrace the Gift.
I love you all SO much and truly am so grateful for all the love and support and prayers on my behalf! I definitely feel them. 

Have a WONDERFUL week!

Love,

Sister Holmes

ps- Boiled Peanuts? SO. BAD. Did I gag? Yup. Did I continue to gag? You better believe it! Oh, and Aligator?! SO GOOD! It really does taste like chicken! hahaha 

pss- We have a plethora of goats in our area. So we stopped to feed them one day. haha And no, the goat didn't turn into a prince... I did get sneezed on though! Did you know that goat snot is black? Yeah. How disgusting is that! ALL OVER MY ARM. haha Love ya'll!

psss- I'M GOING TO MEXICO BEACH TODAY! WHOOHOO!

Week #7: Hello December!

So to bring in the first of December... we went running this morning. WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME. haha Just kidding. But we did go running on a dirt road lined by forest on both sides, and it was actually really good!

This week... This week was really good! Thanksgiving was awesome. We spent it with the sweetest people! Sister B was BEYOND excited to feed us & had called us many times all month & then THREE times Thanksgiving morning! haha but she is a sweetheart & her excitement is the cutest ever. Her husband isn't a member, but he's not interested in learning. He loves having the missionaries over though, so maybe one day. :) We ate lots of yummy food (she cooked for an army & there families & there were only 4 of us eating!). She sent us home with lots of leftovers. After that, we biked to our bishop's house & had some more food! He had one of his son's & daughter in-law & their two kids over, and Ben, our YSA bff over too. So we ate with them & then played a game afterwards. It made me feel like I was at home. So it was awesome.
 
We had so much success with our less actives this week! We taught multiple lessons that we were able to feel the spirit so so strong, and we got ALL of them to come to church yesterday! You guys! That was HUGE! We are so excited, and we are praying that we will be able to help them progress. As for our investigators, not much to report. The work in that area is ssllooww.. But we have faith and trust in the Lord that we will find those who are prepared to receive the gospel, so I'm not too worried.
We had exchanges this week, so I was able to go with Sister Peterson to Lynn Haven! Holy difference from Callaway! Polar opposites. And I was able to see the ocean for the first time since being out here! It was only for a brief moment, but it was beautiful! Exchanges were so good though and I learned so much. I love Sister Peterson. She is awesome and I was so grateful!

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past couple days. It's finally decided to warm up a little during the days, and it's PERFECT! It's that weather that I describe as the last day of school when you know it's going to be the best summer ever and there's that perfect breeze and it's just the happiest weather that touches your soul.... SO GREAT! Biking has been awesome in it! 
 
Church yesterday was super amazing, and I want to share something from it with you. In Sunday School we were talking about tithing. We all know and have learned how important it is to pay a full tithe and to keep that commandment. But something that a member said really stuck out to me and has changed my perspective on it completely! He said "Tithing is one of the only things we can ALL be PERFECT at. Whether we are millionaires or live paycheck to paycheck or anything in between, we all have the opportunity to pay a full 10%, giving us the potential to be PERFECT tithe payers." So, my challenge for you is to strive to be perfect in your tithing. It may be hard, but it's meant to be a sacrifice. If you strive to live the law of tithing, you will be blessed immensely!

I love you all so much, and I'm eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary at this time in the world. The work truly is hastening, and the church is growing. As we are in the midst of the holiday season, strive to find opportunities to serve those around you, and build your relationship with your sweet, sweet Savior. He knows you, He loves you, and He is always with you.

Thanks for all the letters and love! Keep em comin! ;)

Until next time,

Sister Holmes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ps- I'M NOT SICK ANYMORE!
>> happy dance <<
 
pss- I may or may not have accidentally set the fire alarm off in our apartment the other day. I have learned my lesson to not play with matches and candles. haha
That is all.
 
Not very many trees change here... but this one was INCREDIBLE! So vibrant and had all the colors!

Week #6: I made it to the bathroom... a couple of times...

 Wade Holmes family and Scott Holmes family - you will appreciate this email title... but before I get into THAT...
HAPPY 1 MONTH TO ME! Can you believe I've been out a month and 2 days already?! I can't! Time is flyin! 

Dad, I got your package on Saturday... THANK YOU! It was like Christmas morning. haha I told Sister Charles, "I bet there are gold fish in here..." I was right :) so thank you thank you.
This week has been..... quite interesting. 
We had Zone Training which was so much fun. I was able to see a few of my Elders from the MTC and catch up with them which was so great! Plus, I learned so much. It was such a great experience. Then after training, a group of us sisters went out to lunch! I was excited until I realized where we were going... lo and behold, I tried Vietnamese food. haha nnoott my fave. The noodles were weird as crap, and the sauce I found out was Fish Sauce. Whatever the heck that means. But I was a big girl and tried it, and ate... most of it. 
 
I gained the nickname of Agatha out here from one of the member familes. I was like Agatha?! Why Agatha? He said "Because you just look like a little Agatha!" I laughed. Who comes up with a name like that?! The Moya's are an amazing family though. They have two little girls and they are the SWEETEST. They are 4 and 6 and the cutest little girls ever. They are one of my favorite families out here.
We were out biking around, talking to people the other day and came upon a man named Walter. He was super friendly, fun to talk to, and super interesting. As we were talking to him, he let us know that he knew a lot about our church, had a Book of Mormon, and had talked to many missionaries before. He wasn't interested in learning more, but this is what he said to us. "Don't you give up. People need you, they really do. You guys are doing amazing things whether you realize it or not. Your job isn't easy, but keep your head up. You keep going. You are bringing happiness to so many lives." He told us these things for a good 5 minutes, and it was just what I needed to hear. He was so awesome and I just love him. He told us to come back and say hi anytime. :) 
Speaking of biking.... it happened. We got caught in a rain storm! We were SOAKED when we got home and had a whoppin 20 minutes to dry off, change, and get re-ready for our dinner appointment. I had been nauseous all day, so I was trying to keep my mind off of that and be ready on time. 
 
(Scott and Wade Family... get ready... haha)
So we are driving to a recent converts house for dinner. We LOVE them and have eaten there before, and teach them every week. They live about 25-30 minutes away. So we're driving, and I am getting sicker and sicker. I'm praying the entire way there that I will be able to make it through dinner and the lesson before I get sick. So, we get there, sit down to eat, and I knew I was going to struggle. She had made green chili chicken enchiladas and just the smell was making me sick. I usually love enchiladas, and they tasted pretty good, but with every bite I was like oh no... oh no. D (the lady) turned and asked me if I didn't like it, and I felt so bad, but I told her that I just wasn't feeling well. She understood. Well THEN, she brings out the pumpkin pie. Yay! Right? Not this time. It didn't look like normal pumpkin pie (is it supposed to be greenish??) and it was warm. I had asked for a sliver but she so kindly gave me a normal piece. I took a few bites and just couldn't do it. I was SO sick. 

We went into the living room to teach them the lesson, and I went to the bathroom. Yep. Kneeling over the toilet praying that I would at least make it until the other Sisters came to pick us up. I felt a little better, so I went back out. We were teaching W. about the Priesthood, but I honestly couldn't tell ya what was even said. I was so focused on not throwing up. Well we waited and waited for the sisters to get there and finally we called them to see where they were. They were doing exchanges and hadn't even left yet... they were going to be another 30-45 minutes. I instantly panicked. There was no way I could make it that long. I was sweating, light headed, and it was no bueno. I turned to Sister Charles and suggested that we call a member that lived close by to see if she could pick us up. She handed me the phone and told me to call, 
so I took it, went into the kitchen and sat on the chair where I could still see her. 
I call... "Hi Sister L., it's the sisters. We have a huge favor to ask!" Right then, my hand flew up to my mouth and I looked at Sister Charles. Uh oh. and then... out of no where... BOOM. I was throwing up. I ran to the kitchen sink, all while Sister L is on the other end of the line "What's going on?! Are you girls okay?! Hello?? HELLO? What's happening!" I couldn't answer her because I was a little... preoccupied... and in my head I was yelling to Sister Charles to come take the phone. She finally did, gave Sister L the address that we were at, I finished my loving throwing up, turned around, and I about died. I had pulled a Hunter. I left a lovely trail of throw up across their ENTIRE KITCHEN. I. Was. MORTIFIED. It was all over their floor, their sink, in my shoe, all over my top. You guys. Most embarrassing moment of my life. And that's saying something! I told them I would clean it up (they are old. W is 83...) so they gave me the rags, and there I was. Scrubbing my own throw up off of the member's kitchen floor. Gosh. haha I cleaned it all up, mopped, and apologized at least a dozen times. I felt so bad. They felt bad that I was sick. I wanted to run far away from there. Luckily, Sister L had just showed up, so we said our goodbyes, I left a few more apologies, and headed out to the truck. We get out there and told Sister L what had happened, and she was beyond relieved. "Well, I brought my gun just in case! The safety is off and everything! I was ready for whatever ya'll needed!" We laughed so hard. haha Poor Sister L. 
We got home, I put my clothes in the washer, took a shower, and just sat on the floor almost in tears and also laughing that that had actually just happened. I had just thrown up ALL OVER their kitchen. What the heck. 
Sister Charles also got the bug and we were both up all night long. We didn't go to church yesterday, and the Elders offered to come give us blessings. So they did, and we both woke up this morning feeling much better. Still a little iffy, but we can actually get out and do stuff today. 
But yeah. So that happened on my 1 month mark day. hahaha MY LIFE. I keep telling Sister Charles that I'm pretty sure W & D are never going to feed us again. 
Anyway, on a different note, IT HIT 33* THIS WEEK. I thought Florida was supposed to be warm?! What the crap! Whoever said it doesn't get cold here (cough cough DAD) doesn't know what they are talking about! ;) 
 
It's been a good week, and even though I've been sick like my entire mission so far, "bringing souls unto Christ is never too demanding." 
My favorite scripture this week is Ether 12:6. After your trials, the long bumpy roads, and the disappointment, THEN you will see the blessings. Keep the faith and the blessings will follow.

Also, there are churches on every corner here, and on one of the signs it said "7 days without God makes 1 weak." I loved that. Always keep God near, turn to him in happy time and times of trial. Get to know him, and let him into your heart.
I love you all! I appreciate all the prayers and support on my behalf. I definitely feel them. I wouldn't be here without you. And thanks for the letters! Keep 'em comin! 
 
Love from the South,
Sister Holmes :)






Week #5: Why is it COLD in FLORIDA?!

Um, if today's weather isn't a hurricane, I definitely don't want to experience one! HELLO RAIN! Luckily, it's been warmish rain... but anyway..
This week is a BLUR! I'm pretty sure that the world decided to skip Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday because this week FLEW by. Both my companion and I were sick... AGAIN. haha what the heck. But that hasn't kept us down! The work must go on! We have taken it easy though, she was much much worse than I was. So we've been getting back on our feet. It's been going around here though. Our whole ward has it I swear!
Speaking of our ward... We have dinner appointments EVERY NIGHT this week, and some lunch appointments! They llloovvee to feed us! So it's been awesome! We had chicken and dumplings the other night at a members house, and some delicious steak and potatoes another night. Also white chili? Thumbs down. But I was a big girl and ate it all... go me.
Our friend Ben brought us over two big bottles of Cranberry Sprite which is basically Christmas in your mouth. So that was heavenly. And we also got cupcakes from Sweet Grandma Nash :)
 We got TWO NEW INVESTIGATORS THIS WEEK! Daphne and John! John is 82 and rides a Harley around, and he's from New York. So his accent is hilarious. Southern and Eastern? So funny. But he is a stubborn old man. I guess he was raised by nuns and they beat him all the time? So he doesn't have a good view on religion. We're going to change that though. He is a sweetheart. So pray for him that his heart will be softened a little bit!
Daphne is our next door neighbor. She is so sweet, and a little crazy. But the other night I felt like we should go see how she was doing, and we ended up sharing a scripture with her and she was so overwhelmed by the power and "feeling" she got from just reading a couple verses. It was about the Atonement... so we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her to read Alma 32. Well, the next day she stopped us in the parking lot and told us that she LOVED the chapter! We were so excited! We are going back tomorrow to teach her some more.
Her grandpa has dimentia and was visiting her with her mom and son and her grandpa ended up running away (to the highway behind our apartment building) pushing his daughter into the road and to the ground, tried to get away, fell in the middle of the road, and caused a big big scene. So when we got home we pulled in to find a ton of police cars in front of our building. Daphne summoned us over to talk to the grandpa because he likes us (he thinks we are nuns...) so we talked to him, calmed him down, and then talked to the police a little bit. We were mostly there for Daphne, she has a lot going on right now. But we ended up meeting her son and he asked us for a Book of Mormon and a Bible! So we were super excited about that. She starts Chemo here (she's not very old) shortly, so pray for her too!
We went to go visit a family that we've been working with, but they weren't home, so instead we started talking to a group of 10ish kids... and I FELL IN LOVE. The s w e e t e s t little girl came over to me, so I knelt down to talk to her on her level, and she had the biggest, softest eyes, and told me her name was Bella. She spelled it for me and everything! She is probably 4? So cute. She followed me around everywhere and wouldn't leave my side. The older kids were riding our bikes around and thought my bike was the coolest thing they had ever seen. haha Right then the Elders showed up on their bikes, so we had a fun little time with the kids. Just then, a one armed man came up, showed us his nub (at the shoulder), showed us how he could dance with it and that that was why people called him "Lean wit it, Rock wit it." He grabbed change out of his pocket, put it in his cup, laughed at himself, and walked away. hahaha I about died. Then we raced the little kids on their bikes.
Speaking of bikes... Oh my gosh. haha biking in a skirt? Not my cup of tea. Heck. I don't even drink tea! ;) It's been interesting that's for sure! But, it gets us where we are supposed to be, and saves us miles on our car. It was freezing the other day though and I'm pretty sure my fingers were formed to the shape of my handle bars. haha
It has been a good week though. I will admit... you were right. I MISS THE SNOW! (what?!) it just doesn't feel like winter without it!
The scripture that I will share with you is D&C 8:8-12. It has been my favorite this week. 
Without faith, you can do nothing. Pray, act, and nurture your faith, and your testimony will grow ten fold. Be obedient and strive to do your best. The Lord will bless you!

I love you all!
Love from Callaway :)

Sister Holmes

Week #4: Greetings from CALLAWAY!

Hello from Callaway, FLORIDA!  You guys!  Is this for real?!  I have been out here for 5 days and I still can't believe that this is my life.  BUT I love it, and have enjoyed every second of it so far!
My trainer is Sister Charles, she's a Russian that was adopted at age 7.  We have a lot in common, but our personalities are super different.  SO... I've been praying for patience.  haha it will come. :)  She is an awesome trainer though, so it's been great.
My area is really poor, and huge.  We are part of Panama City, but the beach area is a separate mission area... but we are allowed to go on P-days as long as a member takes us!  So hopefully one of these weeks I'll be able to go to Pier Park!  But most of the homes here are trailers, and really run down.  Very very small homes, and apartments. There are some sketchy areas here, but I've never felt in danger. It has been a little chilly here.  I've worn my jacket the past couple days, and the other night I could see my breath outside... what the heck!  Today it's 70 degrees though and that sun feels SO GOOD.
Let's talk about food..... you should be proud of me.  In the short time I have been here, I've tried Fried Gizzards and Shark!  What....
DON'T EVER EAT GIZZARDS.  Oh my gosh.  They are so bad.  hahaha  That's one part of the chicken that should never even be touched, let alone eaten.  And the shark was too fishy for me.  Not bad if you like seafood though.
The gas here is $2.77! Crazy huh! I haven't biked yet, but I think we are biking on Wednesday? We are in a car share with the two other sisters that live in the building next to us. Speaking of living places... our apartment is a one bedroom one bath cute little place! I love it, and it's homey. Plus there are two sinks in the bathroom so that's super nice. Our back yard has a pond with huge, bright orange fish, snakes, and TURTLES! I've tried to take a picture of them, but those suckers are camera shy.

I have met so many wonderful people out here already, and we have already tripled the number of lessons taught since I've been here. The work is truly hastening! We don't have any investigators right now... but we are praying that we can find one this week. We work a lot with returning members and inactive members. We also are doing the new member lessons, so it's been fun. Sister Charles and I are part of the YSA of the ward, so we get to go to their activities and help plan. I'm going to my first one tonight, so cross your fingers that it's good!

It was the Primary Program yesterday for Sacrament, so I got to start off on a happy note! These kids are ADORABLE. I was dying. The ward members are so so nice and welcoming, and feed us dinner ALL THE TIME. Our dinner calendar is full this month. They are super awesome about giving us rides places too!

Everyone here thinks I am the cutest missionary ever (I get told at least 5 times a day by different people) so that's awesome, and everyone teases me for my accent... WHAT ACCENT?! haha They say I have a really thick accent, so that's bizarre. I laugh every time someone tells me that because it's so weird. Oh, and wooden rocking chairs on front porches is a real thing. Every single house has one. haha yay for the south!

I don't even know what else to say because this week has been full of learning and getting into the swing of things! Missionary exhaustion is real, and I'm only on day five. Personal study in the morning is BRUTAL. I need to staple my eye lids open or something... but I'm trying really hard!

Thank you all for the love and support! I am so blessed to be out here sharin happiness with people. And I couldn't do it without all of you! So thank you!!!

One thing I want to share with you is something I learned in Sunday School yesterday. Funny enough it was about missionary work, and our cute teacher Sister Clark (the cutest little black lady ever) said "If you don't baptize one soul, preach the gospel." I loved that. It doesn't matter how many people you baptize, it matters that you are teaching people and being that example.

Well, that's all for today, and I'm crossing my fingers that gizzards are no where in my near future. ;)

So much love from the Sunshine State!

Sister Holmes :)

WRITE ME!

Sister Alexa Holmes
4141 E 15th Street Apt #117
Panama City, FL 32404

Week #3: She Made It; a brief recap by mom

A short recap...
Alexa was able to call us from the airport Tuesday morning around 6:30am (11/4/14).  She was nervous but excited to be heading to Florida.  Her day had started at 2:00am.  She had a lay over in Atlanta before finally arriving in Tallahassee around 5:00pm.  After a long day of traveling she was finally able to meet her mission president & his wife and her new companion.  We received a very sweet letter from Sister Smith on Thursday letting us know that Alexa had arrived and telling us who her companion was as well as where she would be serving.  This was very welcomed information. 
Sister Alexa with President & Sister Smith 
All of the new missionaries that arrived to the Florida Tallahassee Mission together
Sister Alexa and her new companion, Sister Charles.




Week #2: Um, I Only Have 3 Days Left?‏

You guys. I can't believe this is my last email from the MTC! WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?! This week has been incredible in every way. Incredibly tiring, incredibly eye opening, incredibly amazing, incredibly hard, but so so incredible. I have learned SO much about the gospel and about myself and I LOVE IT!

HUGE thank you to all of the letters from dearelder.com! I LOVE THEM! They are the highlight of my day, and I have LOVED hearing from you all! Just remember that after monday I won't receive those... so you'll have to write me actual letters!

We've taught many lessons, but there is one lady I have to tell you about. Her name is Lisa, (and no this isn't one of those pretend investigators.) She is the SWEETEST lady I have ever met. She's in her early 60's, single and so golden. Our lessons with her have been the most spiritual experiences I have ever been through. She is SO CLOSE to accepting the gospel, and I wish I could express in words how amazing it has been to see her change and grow! PRAY FOR HER! If I could stay at the MTC longer just for her... I would. 

The chocolate milk... UM I'M GETTING FAT. Just kidding. But really, it's a serious problem. I've had to try really hard not to get it at every meal. hahaha But good news! I've actually gotten to the point where I drink water constantly! WWHHAATT! My life is changing. haha

Classes are amazing, and I have never loved studying scriptures as much as I do now. There are so many wonderful blessings that come from it, and I wish I would have been more diligent about it before I came out here. But, I've learned and created amazing habits that have opened my heart and my mind so much. 

This week has seriously been a blur... so I'm sorry that this email is all over the place! I can't remember what has happened! Just lot's of learning. We got to listen to Sister Rosemary M. Wixom at a devotional, Sister Brown and I were made Sister Training Leaders, and I am senior companion! The Elders in my district... I love them so much. We've all already planned our reunion trip. haha But I wish I could explain the friendship we all have, they truly have become my family and I love it. 

I'm short on time, but know I love you all and that I KNOW that this is the true church. I'm so excited to head out to Florida and teach!!! 

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!! 

Sister Holmes

 

Week #1: S U R P R I S E !

P-day is on FRIDAYS! :)

 I currently just got out of the doctor's office. Yep. Talked to the nurse, she didn't know what was wrong with me, so I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of hours. Story of my life! Hello dizziness and other unwanted things, welcome back into my life. NOT. And they pricked my finger :( boo. Two of the elders from the other district were kind enough to give me a blessing though, so heaven bless them.

So... the MTC is crazy! I love it. The food is not as good as everyone says, but the chocolate milk is TO DIE FOR. I crave it all the time. All the Elders are total gentlemen, and classes are awesome. My district is my favorite, and we are all already best friends. OH! and guess who my companion is!!!....  SISTER BROWN! The one I had met via facebook! Talk about a blessing! I LOVE HER! We have so much in common and get along so well. The other two sisters are Sister Christiansen (pretty sure that's NOT how you spell her name... but she'll never know) and she's from Fresno, California, and Sister Beal from Bountiful! The Elders are HILARIOUS. We have the greatest time as a district and always try to meet up because we laugh and get along like crazy. There's Elder Pennington, Elder Hinckley (distantly related to President Hinckley), Elder Curtis (my fave) and Elder Wilts! You guys. I can't even tell you how much I love them.

Sister Brown and I have started prepping our first lesson for our first investigator Kristine! The spirit is amazing. Personal study and companion study is fascinating. We are so excited, and we are always on the same page so it makes it super fun! 

Our teachers are Sister Lyon and Elder Lee and they are AWESOME. We just met our Branch Presidency last night, and they are the sweetest ever. Sister Brown was made Senior companion, which means I'm the junior for a week and then we will switch.

So far, things are crazy, amazing, hard, and every other emotion you could possibly think of. I really do love it. Just not the mornings ;) 6:20 and I are not friends. But lucklily none of the sisters are morning talkers, so it's nice. 

Pray for my anxiety to get the heck out of here. Mornings are brutal with that dumb aspect. 

BUT I'm relying on the Lord and have faith everything will work out! I still ask myself (and the other sisters) if this is real life... It's a surreal thing to be surrounded by hundreds of missionaries. On wednesday when I got here, in the devotional they said that 360 missionaries entered the MTC that day... crazy! And that there are over 4000 people STAFFED here. It's insane! 

This gospel is amazing, and I still can't believe I'm wearing a missionary badge! 

I love you all and appreciate all the support and love! 

Sister Holmes :) 

F A R E W E L L

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On a Thursday in May, I was sitting at work. It had been extremely slow that day, and I so badly wanted to be outside. The sun was shining, and oh how I wanted to be soakin it up! Usually, on days like this, my mind was drowning in my own thoughts. So much was going on in my life, and my mind was always jumping from thought to thought. this day was different though. My mind was totally clear. I remember thinking to myself how nice it felt to not be overwhelmed with the things in my head. I closed my eyes for just a second to tell myself I could make it to the end of the day, and that's when it happened. the spirit struck me to my core, and I was frozen in shock.

"It's time to serve a mission."

The age change was made in the fall of 2012. I had just graduated high school a few months prior, and was attending my first semester of college. It would have been the prime time for me to serve. I didn't have anything holding me back, my friends were all leaving, and I had always wanted to serve a mission. So, I prayed. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed.I never received an answer which was super frustrating. I needed to know so I could know whether or not to register for school the next semester, because that's not something you can just put off. Weeks passed, and I still had not received an answer I talked with my bishop, institute teachers, and tried to relieve the frustration. After months, I realized that I was not supposed to serve a mission at that time. So life went on, and I slowly forgot about serving. And in fact, I didn't want to anymore. The desire was gone, and I was content with how my life was. Every once in a while a fleeting thought would cross my mind, but I would quickly push it aside. It wasn't something I wanted to do anymore.

In the middle of all this, my life got flipped upside down as my family was hit with a life changing trial. I fell into a dark place, and felt like I had lost a little bit of myself. This was another reason that I pushed the thought of a mission away. I felt that there was no way I could leave. I needed to be here with my family. A mission was the last thing I could do.

Have you ever wondered if there was a way to avoid misery? A way to relieve sorrow? Because I did. I wondered it quite often. I'm a very optimistic person, and I always have been. I've always been able to seek out the positive in every situation. But all the sudden I couldn't, and it was really hard for me, because that's not who I was. I couldn't find the strength to find positivity, and it was a difficult thing. It was here, in my darkest time that my Savior became my best friend, and I learned the cure to hopelessness and misery.

Larry Richmond said, "We know that the trials of this life will ultimately lead to joy if we patiently trust in God's plan and discover how to use adversity to grow stronger." So, how do we do that? How do we turn a negative situation, a bad outcome, or an unexpected change into a positive, growing experience? Albert E. Cliffe said to "Stop thinking about how tough life is, stop thinking about the future and the past, think of God's riches and love, and express these thoughts daily. You will become what you think."

So often we take for granted the blessings of life. We fall into a pattern of going to the Lord only in times of need, which is okay to do, but how often do we turn to the Lord in gratitude? Do we take enough time to sincerely thank our Heavenly Father for the things He has given us? I once heard the question "What if what you thanked the Lord for last night was all you were given today?" Think about that... If all you had right now were the things you expressed your gratitude for last night, what would you have? Would you have anything?

Sister Bonnie D. Parkin shared that "Gratitude is a spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smaller things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God's love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence. "Live in thanksgiving daily," said Amulek, "for the many mercies and blessings come in different forms--sometimes as hard things. yet the Lord said, "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things--not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy.

To me, gratitude is more than just an attribute. It is a lifestyle and a choice of happiness. As I was struggling through the things with my family, I made a conscious decision to be grateful for my trial. I chose to take a step back and recognize that I was not alone, that God had a plan specifically for me. I chose to trust and to find the positive, no matter how hard it was.

It's so easy to lose yourself to pain, to stress, to frustration. And it's easy to let trials pile on top of each other. But if we can change our mindset to find the positive, our trials will become easier to recognize as blessings. If you think about it, being grateful is one of the easiest things to do. If I asked you to think of three things you were grateful for, I'm sure you could quickly list them off. Whether it be your family, your ward, your neighbors, a friend, there is always something to be grateful for.

Marion G. Romney shared that "Gratitude is defined as a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received. Gratitude is a sign of a noble soul. It has been said that an ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree, eating acorns but never looking up to see where they come from."

So, as I was sitting alone in the quiet store that Thursday, almost two whole years after the age change was made, you can imagine my shock when that prompting came. Tight smack dab in the middle of the hardest time of my life. i made an appointment with the bishop for that Sunday, and let me tell you. It was the longest few days of my life. I prated the entire drive there that I wouldn't chicken out. How bad is that! But as I sat in the bishop's office, I saw the Savior in his eyes, and every ounce of love, comfort, hope, and motivation that the universe possibly had, had filled the room. And I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that this was what I needed to be doing. I caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the dark tunnel I was in.

In the book Believing Christ by Stephen E. Robinson he says that "Too many of us expend our precious energy worrying about our relative times instead of keeping our eyes on the goal, putting one foot in front of the other, and enduring to the end." That was me. I had been focused on the now instead of the ultimate goal. This was the spiritual push I needed to help me out of that hole. I needed to recognize the Lord's hand in my life. I needed to focus on my spiritual self, and prepare. I turned to the Lord in all things, like Sister Parkins shared. I found happiness once again, my heart became overwhelmed with gratitude as family and friends showed concern, love and support, and when the Lord continued to bless me and carry me through my trials. I openly expressed my gratitude, and strived to do so more often. I made it a goal to say a heartfelt prayer of gratitude each time I felt thankful for something. Sometimes it was the sunny weather, the leaves changing, an unexpected text from a friend. I can truly say that it changed my life for the better.

President Eyring said that "To be happy and to avoid misery, we must have a grateful heart. We have seen in our lives the connection between gratitude and happiness. All of us would like to feel gratitude, yet it is not easy to be consistently grateful in all things in the trials of life. Our sorrows can make it hard to see our blessings and to appreciate the blessings God has in store for us in the future...We all can make the choice to give thanks in prayer and to ask God for direction to serve others for Him. Giving thanks in prayer can allow us to see the magnitude of these blessings and all o four other blessings and to receive the gift of a more grateful heart."

I challenge you to make it a goal to have a more grateful heart, to go out of your way to recognize the things you are grateful for, and I promise you that you will be happier, and be able to better recognize the blessings in your life.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission, and to share my gratitude with the people of Florida. I'm excited to teach them, and to help them recognize the blessings in their lives. I'm grateful for the atonement and the healing power it has. I'm grateful for the supportive people that surround me and love me. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for them! I'm grateful for my family, for pushing me to be my best and for loving me unconditionally. I'm grateful for this gospel, and every aspect of it. The standards, commandments, teachings, and love it provides. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I'm beyond grateful for the blessings that I have.

I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Nine Days + Nerves

Let me be real for just one second.

I. AM. TERRIFIED.

I am MTC bound in 9 days, and if I sit and think about it for an extended period of time, I start to freak out. No sugar coating here. I am scared to death. I am just supposed to leave home (which I've never done before) for 18 months, with only email connection once a week? HELP. 

I hear all these future sisters talk about how excited they are and how they can't wait to leave, and I'm over here like, NO. Can I do this?! I know, I know... I can. BUT CAN I REALLY?

Guys. It's hard. Like, harder than I expected it to be, and I know this is nothin. I mean, I haven't even started my mission yet! And maybe it's because it was such an out of the blue, spiritual slap in the face when I knew I needed to serve. Maybe it's because I don't feel as prepared as I should be, or maybe I'm just scared because I just am.

SO. What calms me down? As silly as this is... chocolate milk. Yep. You read that right. HEAVEN BLESS THE CREATOR OF CHOCOLATE MILK. Every night I make a glass of chocolate milk. The kind with the chocolate syrup (because it's better that way), and I drink it real slow, and my anxiety, my nerves, my doubts, they all disappear. It's magical.

But if we are being real here, I'm like... 27% excited and 73% nervous/scared.
Is that normal?

YES IT'S NORMAL. You future sisters... Don't let anyone tell you it's not! I've totally had to comes to terms with it being okay to feel this way. It's okay to be nervous! This is something you work for for a long time, and now it's your time to accomplish it; to go out and serve the Lord with everything you have. IT'S A BIG DEAL. Deep breath. Okay.

Now, I've made it clear I'm scared, but I truly am so excited.
You guys! I get to live in the south for 18 months, (which HELLO! That's my blood down there!) doing the most incredible service for the Lord! That's something to be pumped about. I get to share happiness with people, and watch the miracles of the Lord.

James M. Dunn once said that "Above all the benefits and blessings of missionary service that come into the life of a missionary--and that which brings unparalleled peace and comfort to the soul--is the testimony which comes to him, perhaps not all at once, perhaps line upon line. (See Isa. 28:13.)" The Blessings of Missionary Service

In the talk The Blessings of Sharing the Gospel given by Elder Carlos E. Asay, he shares seventeen blessings that result from missionary service.

1- Leadership Training
2- Building the Kingdom
3- Preparing a People for Christ's Second Coming
4- Memorable Experiences
5- Establishing Abiding Friendships
6- Developing Love and Understanding of People
7- Rendering Service
8- Being a Peacemaker
9- Developing and Polishing Character
10- Forgiveness of Sins
11- Growth of Testimony
12- Companionship of the Holy Spirit
13- Closeness to the Lord
14- Growth in Faith
15- Growth in Knowledge of the Gospel
16- Peace of Conscience
17- Joy

These are all things I am ecstatic to gain, and so excited to work for. And I truly believe these blessings will come by being a member missionary also.

One thing I know is that no matter how scared, how nervous, how inadequate, how unprepared, and how hesitant I may feel, I will NEVER be left to do this on my own. And for that knowledge, I am beyond grateful!

TALLAHASSEE: It's gettin real. And I'M COMIN FOR YA.


The Ogden Utah Temple


On Wednesday, September 24, 2014 I was able to go through this magnificent building for the first time! The Ogden, Utah temple was rededicated on Sunday, September 21 by President Thomas S. Monson, and was open to the members use on Tuesday, September 22. I was so blessed to be able to go through the second day it was open, and what a wonderful experience it was!

I had so many family members there supporting me, and it was such a great experience. I'm so grateful for such a beautiful place of refuge from the world! This is a milestone I have been preparing for my entire life, and I'm so proud of my accomplishment. The temple truly is the House of the Lord.

To learn more about LDS Temples, go HERE


Only a small portion of the family there sharing this special day with me!

I took this at the Salt Lake Temple, but it's just too cool not to put on this post!

President Monson said, "As we go to the holy house, as we remember the covenants we make therein, we will be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation. The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls--not the peace provided by men but the peace promised by the Son of God when He said, 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your hear be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

If you are preparing to enter, have it as a future goal, or are clearing up personal issues to be able to re-enter, PLEASE KEEP GOING. The blessings of the temple are unlike anything else. Keep it as your goal, and always have it in sight!

Dear Sister Holmes

After countless hours of doctors appointments, dentist appointments, filling out paperwork, and patiently waiting, (like two months waiting...) the beloved white envelope finally found it's way into my mailbox on August 27th. I anxiously waited in front of my window watching for the mailman for a good 30-45 minutes, while he sat on his phone instead of leaving. So, as soon as he pulled away, I ran over there to find the anticipated call sitting in my mailbox!


I invited all my friends and family to be there when I opened it, (which was the next day) and I'm so glad I did. I honestly was SO NERVOUS to open the dang thing. Like, to the point I actually didn't want to and instead just tell everyone to go home. But don't worry, I opened it. 


I was overwhelmed with love and support on my call, and it calmed my nervous tremendously. 

FLORIDA HERE I COME! 

ps- the song Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong UNITED (the song used in the video) is my favorite. It is such an incredible song, and really gets my spiritual blood pumpin. haha So, you're welcome. 
You can listen to the full song here.

Surprise!

I'm huge on surprises. I love to be surprised, I love surprising people, I love watching people be surprised, but let me tell ya. This surprise was a hard one to keep on the DL! I mean, it's HUGE! I had this grand plan to get all creative and fun and tell my parents with a little present. I had t-shirts being made that I had spent a ridiculous amount of time making and probably too much money (thank you slow days at work), and had the whole situation planned out. I was going to film it so I could always watch their reactions and remember the emotion of it. But, we all know some plans just don't work out.

It was Memorial weekend, and the annual camping trip in my grandparents backyard/magic land (seriously the greatest place on earth) was taking place. I had come straight from work on Saturday with all my campin gear, and was attacked by the hugs of little cousins and playful giggles, stories of their day and warm greetings from my family. I went and played "bad guys" with the cute kiddos while everyone else got dinner ready. My uncle called us over for the annual picture scavenger hunt, which very quickly reminds me of how out of shape I am EVERY. TIME. He had taken pictures of random things on the property and printed them out. We had to look at the picture, find the object, take a picture, run back and pass it off to get our next one. It is so much fun, and so exhausting! I was teamed up with my awesome cousin Avi, and the cutest little tag along, Kendall. We ran, and ran... and ran.. and ran.. and finally got a break for dinner. Thank goodness, I was dying. We mingled, had some more family show up, and began to clean up. My dad had asked me earlier to do a little announcement for him for a medal him and my brother won at a tennis tournament, and I just knew I had to make my announcement with it too.

 My Plan = Big change.

Everyone gathered around, cheers and laughs here and there as my dad was telling the story. Then I got everyone's attention one more time. I had my sister film it, wanting to keep this moment with me forever. My heart was pounding and the spirit was so strong!

"I'm going on a mission."

Tears, hugs, a TOTALLY shocked dad, and excitement burst into our little campsite! It was seriously one of the best moments of my life. And guess what, the video accidentally got deleted. Yes there may have been tears on my end about that... I so wish I could share it, watch it, and relive it over and over and over again. But, the memories will have to do. Oh, and my little scavenger team ended up winning. BOO YA! Bragging rights for the next year.

The mission topic was brought up several times throughout the weekend with questions, and stories, and hugs. I loved it! And with it being Memorial Weekend, we went to visit some graves, one being my sweet, sweet Great Grandma D, and I could feel her there, and how proud she was of me. I wish I could explain it, but just know my heart was beyond full. (ps- come to find out... she sent many Book of Mormons to Tallahassee with her testimony written in them! Go figure!)


So we head to my mom's to finish off the weekend. We get there and talk a little. I handed her the t-shirt design on paper and asked her to look at it. When she finally understood what it meant (it took her a little bit) she sat there, totally shocked. No words for about ten minutes. It wasn't quite the reaction I was expecting, but so funny. I couldn't tell if she was happy, or sad, or mad, or excited, and I got a little nervous! I ran over to my other grandparent's house to tell them the news, hoping it would sink in with my mom a little bit. And it did. She was excited! Super surprised and caught off guard, but so so excited.
We ended up going to breakfast at Jeremiahs like we do every year, and to a movie afterward, and a mission was a popular topic.

Needless to say, Memorial Weekend of 2014 was an amazing one, full of so much love and support. It made me that much more excited and sure about my decision! And yes... my mom and dad eventually both got their shirts that were from plan A. Thank you O'shirts Screen Printing. 



Oh, and I leave in exactly a month... TIME NEEDS TO SLOW DOWN.