Happy Saturday! I hope it's been as good for ya'll as it has been for me!
With Maleek
This week has been one of the best on my mission thus far. So many miracles, tender mercies, heaven sent strength, and laughs. I've pondered on this all week, and boy. I am SO grateful I came on a mission to experience all these things!!

I love my mission so much that every morning during companionship study, after we are done singing, praying, and reciting our purpose and the first vision, I clench my fists, hold them up a little and half yell "I LOVE THE GOSPEL" with gritted teeth. OOHHH I LOVE IT.

But first of all.... HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL THE INCREDIBLE DADS OUT THERE! But most importantly, my daddy!! Oh, how I have been blessed with the best of the best! LOVE YOU DAD!

Found 10 pennies within a couple minutes.... Lucky day for sure!

SO. This week :)
On Monday, I had the WONDERFUL blessing of going on trade off's with SISTER ROHWER! Talk about the greatest reunion of my LIFE! You guys. I can't even tell you how much I love her. It was a bittersweet reunion, but an awesome one at that. She's going home this week due to some really aweful health issues. While serving in Callaway together, we had talked about how awesome it would be if we got to serve on campus together, and that we wished that we could be companions at the end of Sister Rohwer's mission... little did we know that was going to happen! And, like always, we had a miracle of a lesson together on campus. The unity just clicked like we hadn't ever been transferred. It was so awesome. I'm so sad that she has to go home, but it's for the better. I love her.
Also on Monday night, I overcame my dislike for dodgeball and represented the missionaries on the court. Terrified out of my mind, I was left as the last one standing TWICE. What the heck team?! And, Our investigator, Antonio, the miracle gator, was there and on the other team. haha it was so much fun though. I love the singles ward.

Speaking of Antonio, he. is. AMAZING. We have had the most INCREDIBLE experiences with him. I am so overwhelmed that Heavenly Father trusts me with him! He is so prepared, and so ready to accept the gospel. He is extremely dedicated to reading the Book of Mormon, praying correctly, he registered for BOTH institute summer classes, and comes to ALL the activities. He fits right in to our ward and is just a solid investigator.

We also got a new investigator this week. His name is Joseph and he is from West Africa. He came to the United States 3 months ago without knowing a lick of english. I have SO much love for him! And admiration. His english is so awesome, he struggles a little bit, but boy. Props to him. We have taught him twice this week, and they have been the most spiritually powerful lessons I have taught. The first time we taught, we invited him to say the closing prayer. He happily accepted and prayed in french. SUPER powerful. THEN we taught him again a couple days ago, and he pulled out a notebook in which he had written two pages worth of notes about the Restoration PAMPHLET. incredible! We started to read the Book of Mormon with him, and he was more than willing to try to read in English. Which, he did incredible. After we finished 1 Nephi 1 we asked him if he had any questions. He went on to say, "So, if I understand it right..." then he goes on to explain the chapter in the most simple, beautiful way. We were both speechless. He totally understood it. We invited him to say the closing prayer and told him he could say it in French again if he'd like. He replied "I think I'm going to try to say it in english today." ........ The most elegant, beautiful, most powerful, sincere prayer I have ever heard in my entire life. Tears. My eyes were FULL of tears. What an experience.

We also had an almost scary moment this week as well, nothing too bad, but we decided to get blessings just for a little extra protection and safety. What an incredible blessing. oh, how grateful I am for the Priesthood, and worthy priesthood holders.

Wednesday night at a dinner appointment, I had quite the "lexa moment". The member was trying to teach us how to throw cards so they would shoot across the room. Of course, I was like SAWEET! So I grab a card, try to flick it (being the only one to try) and what happens? I hit the container of raspberries.... RASPBERRIES WENT EVERYWHERE. If there hadn't been a wall there, they would have flown for MILES. Of course. Only me. haha everyone DIED. Sister Rindlisbacher had to get up and go crouch by the door so she wouldn't pee her pants. haha and the member about fell out of his chair as well as the other member that was there with us. SO. Embarrassing. It's been quite the laugh haha

Cool note: FSU was holding US Open Playoffs! Say WHAT! So we got to watch a little bit while we took a break! It was AWESOME! It made me crave tennis. Those player can serve crazy hard! It was so fun! Sister Rindlisbacher is such a good sport!

Tender Mercy moment: as we were walking to the church (20 minute walk) we were sweating, so hot, tired, and a little bit done with the day, a white car pulled over and rolled their window down. A lady, Tori, said "hey!! are you mormon missionaries?!" since we were, she said "I follow this person named Shay Carl from Logan, Utah! I just want to tell you ladies that you are doing an incredible thing. Keep going, don't get discouraged. You are doing something that will change the world." I was overwhelmed to the point of tears. I have SUCH a strong testimony that Heavenly Father is extremely aware of us, and will send us words of encouragement in all ways, shapes, and forms. Tori... She will never know how much that simple decision to stop and encourage the missionaries effected us.

Also, hello 100* at 9:00 IN THE MORNING and 8:30 AT NIGHT. I wanted to die this week. My walks were full of pleading prayers for strength and endurance to just make it to where I needed to be. That was a miracle in itself that I stayed standing. I KNOW I got help from the other side of the veil.

To end, I want to encourage you to read the talk: "The Path to Palmyra" by Matthew S Holland in this months ensign. I read it this morning in my personal study, and my testimony of Joseph Smith was once again confirmed. I want to share an excerpt from it that says,

 "In spite of failure, mishap, and bitter opposition--and in many cases precisely because of those things--Joseph Smith got exactly where he needed to be to fulfill his mission. So, if now or on some future day, you look around and see that other perhaps less-devoted acquaintances are succeeding in their jobs when you just lost yours; if major illness puts you on your back just at the moment critical tasks of service seem to come calling; if a call to a prominent position goes to someone else; if a missionary companion seems to learn the language faster' if well meaning efforts still somehow lead to disaster with a fellow ward member, a neighbor, or an investigator; if news from home brings word of financial setback or mortal tragedy you can do nothing about; or if, day after day, you simply feel like a bland and beaten background player in a gospel drama that really seems made for the happiness of others, just know this: many such things were the lot of Joseph Smith himself at the very moment he was being led to the stage of the single most transcendent thing to happen on this earth since the events of Golgotha and the Garden Tomb nearly 2,000 years earlier.
"But," you may say, "my life and earthly destiny will never be like that of the Prophet Joseph."
That is probably true. But it is also true that your lives do matter to God, and your eternal potential and that of every soul you will meet is no less grand and significant than that of the Prophet Joseph himself. Thus, just like our beloved Joseph, you must never give up, give in, or give out when life in general, or missionary work in particular, gets utterly painful, confusing, or dull. Rather, as Paul teaches, you must see that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Just as He did with young Joseph Smith, God is shaping and directing you every single day to ends more glorious than you can know!"

I love this gospel, and I love being a missionary! It's the happiest, hardest thing I have ever done, and it has forever changed my life and my eternity.

Love to all ya'll!

Sister Holmes :)

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