I'm in Florida serving a mission, and the Fourth of July still somehow wins one of my very favorite holidays. SO MUCH AMERICAN PRIDE OVER HERE.

This week had a lot of... events. I guess you could call them events! Not a whole lot of details go into them, but they happened. haha

-A tornado touched down in Tallahassee (yes, massive panic on my part. but I'm still alive. Luckily it ended up being on the other side of town.) We had a few really massive storms this week. We had to take cover quite a few times, but it was super awesome to watch! Luckily, we never got stuck in them.

-Our investigator, Antonio came back in town and is as solid as ever! We taught him an awesome lesson about the Plan of Salvation and committed him to be baptized when he comes to know that these things are true, and we got a solid YES! Keep him in your prayers! I was sent here to find this kid. Some pretty awesome experiences have been had with him!

-The new summer semester at FSU just started so there are TONS of freshman on campus! JACKPOT! Lots of fresh blood, and we have had little rejection so far! We have been LOVING it!

-We just got finished with a super fun 4th of July cookout with a ton of Senior couple missionaries and all the missionaries in my district! Lots of yummy food and lots of laughs. It's been a super awesome day so far :) and the WHOLE city, and everybody in the city is Red, White and Blue. :)

-I'm so sad about President Packer! Lots of changes happening in the Twelve!

and last but not least...

-My bike got stolen, and sister rindlisbacher's got damaged.

The tornado touched down. Extreme wind & rain, terrifying! But gotta get a picture! :'}
So, to end off, I want to share something that has been a theme in my studies this week. Timing is perfect, and I was able to experience something really amazing.

The Atonement. The most selfless act of service in the history of the world. An act that brings the enabling power of forgiveness and the enabling power to forgive.
In True to the Faith it says, "In the everyday circumstances of life, we will surely be wronged by other people--sometimes innocently and sometimes intentionally. It is easy to become bitter or angry or vengeful in such situations, but this is not the Lord's way... We should pray for strength to forgive those who have wronged us, and we should abandon feelings of anger, bitterness, or revenge. We should also look for the good in others rather than focusing on their faults and magnifying their weaknesses. God will be the judge of others' harmful actions."
President Hinckley said, "My brothers and sisters, let us bind up the wounds—oh, the many wounds that have been caused by cutting words, by stubbornly cultivated grievances, by scheming plans to “get even” with those who may have wronged us. We all have a little of this spirit of revenge in us. Fortunately, we all have the power to rise above it, if we will “clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace..“To err is human, to forgive divine.” (Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 2:1711.) There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds. There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness. This is the sweet peace of the Christ, who said, “blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9.).”

As we walked past the bike rack yesterday, we were surprised to see an empty spot where the fourth bike should have been, and the tire to Sister Rindlisbacher's bike sitting on the ground. With shock and confusion, I was surprisingly extremely calm. Not one thought of bitterness, worry, anger, or frustration ran through me. The only thing I thought was, "Maybe they needed it more than me." After taking a quick little walk around the complex just to make sure it hadn't been moved, I sat down and opened my study journal. Forgiveness. I had just experienced true forgiveness, and oh, what a spiritual experience that was. 

How often do we keep grudges? How often are we avoiding those who wrong us? How often do those actions effect other people, people that we love? Who are we to hold onto the wrongs of others? Who are we to wait for an apology, when our Savior Jesus Christ has forgiven us long before we have wronged somebody else? Who are we to not forgive, when we are always forgiven?

I invite you to reflect on your life. Who has wronged you? Who has hurt you? Forgive. Let it go, and use to Atonement to forgive. The peace it brings FAR out ways the heaviness of a grudge.

I love you all and I am extremely grateful for the freedom we have. Without freedom of religion I would not be serving a mission. HUGE thanks to all of the armed forces, and those who have served in the past. My prayers of gratitude are ever so deep today. 

Have a bright, sunshiny week! :)

Sister Holmes


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