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 :)


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