Wk #28: Next Chapter

What a WEEK!
First of all... we got transfer calls last night....

I'm getting transferred and training a new missionary! I have such bitter sweet feelings about it all. Am I terrified out of my mind? You better believe it! I will be "white washing" an area! (Two new missionaries in an area..) I'm a little overwhelmed, but SO grateful that I've been given this opportunity! There are only 4 new sisters coming into the mission this transfer, and out of ALL the sisters serving here, I was one chosen to train! What a huge compliment and honor. Sister Rohwer will be staying here in Callaway, and she is also going to be training a new missionary. :) We've already shed lots of tears over leaving each other... so it's going to be quite an emotional few days for us, BUT I pray and hope that I can help my new little missionary the best I can. I truly am so grateful that Heavenly Father and President Smith have trusted me with this. I'm excited for this new chapter in my mission. :) I will be heading to Tallahassee tomorrow night, getting my new companion on Wednesday and heading to our new area! We won't know where we are serving until then... so keep your eyes out for the blog! or just wait until next monday ;) Sister Rohwer and I are both guessing Alabama, but we'll see!
Luckily, I was able to take pictures and say goodbye to most the ward on Saturday night at the Fish Fry they had! There are a few people I'm going to stop and see today and tomorrow. Gah. I hate goodbyes. I feel like I'm leaving home all over again!

I also hit six months this last week! CRAZY! I took a 6 month picture... but silly me forgot my camera today! So you'll just have to close your eyes and picture it. Sister Rohwer and I may or may not have celebrated by eating frozen yogurt for lunch... again.. I've gotta stop. haha Chocolate, Salted Carmel and coconut swirled together with toasted coconut and candied pecans on top? How can you not want that for a celebratory lunch.

We got a new investigator this week! His name is Braden, and he is the most polite little ten year old I have ever met. He is Walt's nephew! We are so excited to start teaching him! He told us that he had already started reading the Book of Mormon, and was so excited to learn more. What the! he's so awesome.
We also had some amazing experiences this week with service. Something that the south really struggles with is Home and Visiting Teaching. It is hard to watch, and at times extremely frustrating for us missionaries. So, we went out Visiting Teaching with one of the amazing women in our ward and was able to serve a sister who had just lost her husband not to long ago. She also suffers from extremely poor health and has a lot of family struggles. Sister Rohwer and I sat back for a few minutes and watched the sisterhood of the Relief Society unfold. What a humbling experience it was to watch two sisters serve and love each other.

We also had a few other amazing opportunities that we were blessed with, and we learned so much and felt such a love for our Heavenly Father as we did so!
Saturday we were able to attend and Wedding/Baptism for a family that the other sisters had been working with. It was a beautiful day for them, and we're so excited for them to start working towards the temple. :)
Last night Elder and Sister Crandall (a senior couple serving in our zone from Idaho) came over to our apartment and had Sunday dinner with us. We LOVED it. It felt like a Sunday at home getting together with family! They are the sweetest people ever, and I am so grateful I've been able to serve with them.

Today, a bunch of us missionaries in our zone are meeting at the beach for a BBQ and some fun.. 
but it's raining, so it should be a good time ;)

I love being a missionary, and I have loved serving here. It's definitely been REALLY hard, and very testing, but I have grown and learned so much about myself and my Savior. I'm grateful I've been given the opportunity to represent my Savior, Jesus Christ for 18 months. What an unexplainable experience it has been.

Thank you for all the love and prayers on my behalf. They are GREATLY appreciated!! 
Love Ya'll!

Sister Holmes :)

Wk #27: The Water in the Desert

We had interviews with President Smith this week, and I want to start off today's update with a story he told me that I have modified just a little. :)

The Water in the Desert

You are walking through a miserably hot desert. There is no shade to cool off, you are sunburned, the hot, dry wind is blowing. Your mouth is dry and full of dust and sand, and you can feel the grit on your teeth. You so badly want a drink of water. But you continue on, hopeless because you know there is no relief to be found.
You look down, and miraculously there is an ice cold glass of fresh water. Oh, how badly you want a drink! You look at it. You look at it, but you continue walking, leaving the water behind.

How often do we trek through the desert of life feeling hopeless, unforgivable, pained and confused? Worn down with the stresses of our day to day life? How often do we pass by the gift and the power of the Atonement, knowing that at any moment we can apply it to our life and experience the peace and joy we've so long been searching for?

The Atonement is infinite (2 Nephi 9:7). In Alma 34:9 we read that "it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost..."

Stop perishing in the desert of life. Take a drink of the water you have longed for, and be made whole. (Matthew 9:21-22)

In President Uctdorf's talk, Living the Gospel Joyful he says, "Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings...The Creator of the seas, sands, and endless stars is reaching out to you this very day! He is offering the grand recipe for happiness, peace, and eternal life!"

Put down your umbrella, pick up that glass of water, and let the blessings of the Atonement and the gospel rain upon you and quench your spiritual thirst!

This week I definitely experienced this. As missionaries, it's extremely visible the effort the adversary is putting in to destroy the gospel, happiness, and love. He works on everyone. The strongest members in the gospel, those who have yet to hear the gospel, and everyone in between. Sister Rohwer and I have dealt with this the last week as we've seen the armies of Satan work on our investigators, those we meet on the streets, families in our ward, and our companionship. But I know and can testify that as we turn to the Savior, we can be protected, strengthened, and confident.

Jazzanae's baptism has been postponed. We don't have a specific date for her right now, but it'll happen in the Lord's time! She is a very strong, beautiful little girl. We have every bit of faith that she will continue to progress to the waters of baptism.

Walt is doing AWESOME. He's had some pretty rough bumps come into his path, but he is strong, and he knows what his goal is and where he's going. His testimony of the Atonement is strong and powerful. He's working on the Word of Wisdom still, but has come so so far! Both Sister Rohwer and I are SO overwhelmed with gratitude for having the opportunity to work with him and his girlfriend, Jamie! I think we learn more from them.

Diane is doing great as well. We weren't able to see her this week, but she loves the Restoration, and we are praying that she reads the Book of Mormon!
We have a few new investigators this week! Crystal, Patty and Will.

Crystal is a cute mom of 3 adorable kids and is very interested! We are hoping to be able to start teaching her family!
Patty is a Family History investigator. She's... stubborn, but LOVES Family History.
Will is the son of one of our ward members. We aren't sure his interest level right now, but are hoping to help him find his place in life! He is 17 and super cool.

Also, hurricane season is a brewin! Well, almost. Technically there's 40 somethin days until hurricane season hits, but BOY! The weather has been nasty! We were under tornado watches and warnings yesterday, and we woke up to some pretty strong winds and rains this morning! A couple nights ago we had a thunderstorm (Um, thunder in the south is TERRIFYING. I may or may not have unintentionally screamed a couple times at this morning's thunder and jumped half a mile out of my chair. I'm surprised my head didn't get stuck in the ceiling from jumping so high...) but anyway, the thunderstorm the other night was so bad that during one thunder boom, it set off ALL of the car alarms outside. Crazy, right?!

We also got stuck in a DOWNPOUR. It was the funniest/ funnest thing I have ever experienced. I don't think I have ever laughed so hard. And I also was an idiot and accidentally LOST OUR HOUSE KEYS. So... we had to go searching through our parking lot. But, the church is true and we found them. :)

Gotta keep those umbrella's down to get the blessings! ;)

Hope ya'll had a good week!!


Sister Holmes :)

Wk #26: Blink, and it's gone!

This week was a total blur! I'm pretty sure I blinked and it was gone! I DON'T LIKE IT!

This week:

-I realized my fear of lizards.
-I learned to never to open the back door at night for more than 3 seconds.
-I learned that lizards are fast.
-I was hit on by a creepy, old, toothless man.
-I ate the worst baked beans of my life.
-I made 20+ U-turns in under an hour.
-I taught a lesson in a hotel room.
-I saw three wigs on the side of the road piled together.
-I got the blood of Archie in my study journal. So gross.
-I caught a glimpse of what pure humidity actually is ( H E L P )

On a more serious note:

-I watched Archie walk into Sacrament Meeting with a suit coat on (this is HUGE. he wears jeans and a plaid button up shirt every week) with his TITHING in his pocket! He also told us during the week that he loves taking the sacrament and missed it during conference!
-I witnessed a family recognize us as representatives of our Savior and desire to learn about the gospel.
-I had my testimony strengthened ten fold on being lead by the spirit.
-I listened to the testimony of little Jazzanae and realized how beyond ready she is for baptism. (April 21st is the big day!)
-I attended our Zone Training and was spiritually fed and learned so, so much. *I'M SURROUNDED BY INCREDIBLE MISSIONARIES.
-Sister Rohwer and I were able to teach about the "Basics" of the gospel at our Wednesday night scripture study. And as we taught, the spirit testified to me SO strongly of the truthfulness of this gospel!

     B- Build Your Foundation
     A- Anchored in Faith
     S- Study the Scriptures
      I- Illuminate the Light of Christ
     C- Christlike Attributes
     S- Sabbath Day Holy

- I was able to witness a continued lifestyle change with our investigator Walt as we taught about the Word of Wisdom. He already had been working on it!
-I once again realized how INCREDIBLY blessed I am to have Sister Rohwer as my companion. I can't say it enough.

This week I've been working on the council given by Elder Bednar during conference to "hush your fears." How many things hold us back from fulfilling the potential that we have? How many times do we walk away from something and think that we should have done something different. How many times do we become trapped with fear? Elder Bednar went on to say that faith and hope invite peace. We must look to Christ, build our foundation on Christ, and press forward with faith in Christ. Our hearts need not to be troubled nor feared, for the Lord our God is on our side! We must always put our shoulder to the wheel, and push along.

Love ya'll!
Sister Holmes

Wk #25: The Happiest of Easters!

Callaway, Florida, being a Sister Missionary, Having the best companion, General Conference AND Easter all combined = An extremely memorable weekend. :)

This last week was so great! We have a new finding tool that President Smith has been strongly encouraging us to use, which is a survey about Family History and Religion. Sister Rohwer and I decided to dedicate an hour to it everyday, and boy has our dedication paid off! We were able to have extremely strong testimony building experiences, learning opportunities, and NEW INVESTIGATORS! You combine all that with singing opera primary songs at the top of your lungs while riding bikes, and I'd call that a successful week!

We were able to watch conference at some members homes both Saturday and Sunday. Sister Rohwer and I sat there with our jaws dropped as each talk ended. 95% of them described the situations we had been in the last three weeks. Questions and confusions and misunderstandings about Adam and Eve? That has interestingly been our life that past couple weeks. We have come across MANY people who have ended up bashing on Adam and Eve and strongly changing the doctrine clearly stated in the bible. Also, all the talks about families and the Atonement? Once again, many teaching opportunities having to do with exactly that. It's fascinating how truly inspired these leaders of the church are! Not only that, but many, many questions were answered that I had prayerfully considered. OH, HOW I LOVE CONFERENCE!
It was definitely an incredible experience to be watching it from across the country, set apart as a missionary. There was a different spirit about it that I will never be able to deny or forget. I am so grateful I chose and was called to serve!

Easter was also great. :) We were able to spend it with member's and their families during Conference, then out teaching and contacting the rest of the night. And yes, the Easter Bunny DEFINITELY found us. haha we got a little spoiled.

I just want to end by quoting our beloved Prophet. “We are engaged in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he concluded. “Let us learn of Him. Let us follow in His footsteps. Let us live by His precepts.” Each talk focused on the BASICS of the gospel. Out in the field we teach people about spiritual CPR. Church, Pray, Read. Follow in the Saviors footsteps diligently. Attend your church meetings, the temple, and activities. Pray ALWAYS. Strengthen that precious relationship with your Father in Heaven. Read your scriptures. Study them. LOVE them. I can promise you that as you do these small and simple things, individually AND as a family, great things will surely come to pass. (Alma 37:6) We are in a great battle. We know who will win, but we have to do everything we can to get there.

I love you all!

Sister Holmes :)

Ps- Happy Easter from Sister Rohwer and I! :)
Too much Easter sugar... (backseat: l-r; Sis Nichols, from momma's lil hometown & Sis Jensen)