Wk # 46: Spiritual GROWTH

This week my humble testimony has been strengthened ten fold. The power and influence of the spirit that I have experienced has forever changed my life, and for that I am extremely grateful.
This week has been one full of incandescent tender mercies.

On Tuesday the alarm went off bright and early at 5:30 am. As I hopped out of bed and onto my knees, I was so excited that it was finally September 25th! Half of the Florida Tallahassee Mission was coming together for a special conference with Elder Nielson and Elder Stanfil of the Seventy and their sweet wives. Anticipation was raging, and I was so ready! We got ready and headed out the door so we could be there at 7:30.

The sisters in the mission got to meet with Sister Nielson, Sister Stanfil and Sister Smith, and the Leadership of the mission got to meet with Elder Stanfil, Elder Nielson and President Smith before the conference began. What an incredible meeting. Never have I felt more empowered by the spirit than I did then! One thing that really stood out to me in that meeting was how every creation that Heavenly Father created was made to be acted upon, except us. We were created to act. The example was given that if we pick an apple off of the tree, the apple won't yell and say, "No! Don't eat me today!" and jump out of our hands and back onto the tree. They were created to be acted upon. So how are we using that gift? Are we acting on the promptings we receive? On the commandments and standards we've been given? Or are we sitting around doing nothing?

As the day went on, we all got together for the main conference. So much revelation came during that meeting! One of the things that stood out to me the very most though was that we need to BECOME. What does that mean for you? What do you need to do to become like the Savior? What changes do you need to make? Everyday we have the potential to become greater than we were yesterday, and to become stronger for the future. Who are you becoming?

We got to sing the mission song for them (that I get chills singing every time...) and eat lunch catered from Red Elephant. SO GOOD. 

After the conference ended at about 3:30, President Smith announced that six missionaries would be getting interviewed by Elder Nielson and Elder Stanfil. They were prayerfully selected, and so we were all a bit anxious. Talk about an intimidating/incredible experience!

Then all the sudden, President Smith said "Sister Holmes, you will be interviewing with Elder Stanfil in room 10 in 5 minutes." 


I was SUPER overwhelmed with the opportunity! As I went into the room with Elder Stanfil, all my nerves were calm, and the spirit was so strong. He is most definitely a General Authority for the Lord. It was the most surreal experience. He was an extremely inspired man, and seemed to know me. I will never forget that moment.

After my interview (I may or may not have been overcome with some emotion...) I sat out in the hall, reflecting and getting a grip on myself. Sister Stanfil came over and sat by me, and I was blessed to have had the opportunity to chat with her for a good 15 minutes! What a sweet, sweet lady!!

As the interviews came to an end, the leadership got to have another MLC with them. 

I was struck by the power of the Atonement. Elder Nielson said that as he was eating breakfast with Elder Bednar (no big deal...) Elder Bednar turned to him and said, "I am convinced that the Atonement happened ONE by ONE. That each of us took a moment by the Savior as he suffered for our pains, weaknesses, and sins. Then, he took on the pain for the next person." Never has the doctrine of the Atonement hit me so plainly. It truly is uniquely individual to each of us. What a blessing!

After MLC, we got to have dinner with them and chat, and then went up to the mission home to take a picture. It was an extremely inspiring day that has changed me and my testimony forever. 

The week continued to be filled with small miracles, and a new herd of college students! Yay for fresh blood! It was extremely overwhelming on campus! But SO MUCH FUN!!! We met some incredible people that we are super excited about!!

Man. I wish I could know how to express in words how truly grateful for this time in my life. It's been quite the journey that I hope never ends. 

And, of course, for the random things that happened this week:

-I got my finger STUCK in my water bottle for 20 minutes. It was swollen for two days afterward.
No, I don't know how it happened.
-I witnessed a boy and a girl riding a moped while holding a big cooler... people in Tallahassee are bizarre. 
-We prayed with two guys in the middle of campus... holding hands... and just not the way we pray. haha I was a little embarrassed. but it was a cool experience.
-We got roped into being in the stake choir for stake conference this weekend.... HELP. 

It's been a great week though!! 
Here's a little clip I want to leave ya'll with :)


Sister Holmes :)


Wk # 45: Month TEN

Hello my lovely people!
I hope life is treating ya'll good!

We've had a pretty fun week! Last p-day we kicked it off with a campfire with our district! Man! have I missed a good campfire! It was lots of fun!

I also learned that when you MELT the butter instead of SOFTEN it to make cookies, your cookies end up looking like pancakes. haha lesson learned. still good though! 

Campus is starting to get a little busier, which I am SO grateful for. School starts on Monday, so Sister Wood and I are so so excited! 
A couple of our investigators aren't doing super hot right now, so we are really sad about that. We're still working really hard to help them feel the spirit and recognize the importance of having the gospel in their lives. But on the bright side, we got three new investigators this week, and whoa. Have we experienced some amazing things with them!

I'm going to tell you about "D" and "H". 

When Sister Wood first entered the MTC, Sister Bacon met her at the curbside and helped her the first day. While going through the MTC, They realized that Sister Wood was getting sent to Tallahassee which is where Sister Bacon was from! After the excitement of that news, Sister Bacon told Sister Wood to go baptize her family. (Sister Bacon was a convert of a little over a year I think...) Sister Bacon expressed that as much as she would love that, she didn't think her family would ever convert, especially her mom. 
They parted ways, and that was that.

"T", a.ka. Sister Bacon, just returned home from her mission last week, and now attends the 5th ward in which we serve. There was a sweet reunion between T and Sister Wood and lots of catching  up. As we got talking, I found out that T served in Lisbon, Portugal and knew Jake! Small world!

At T's reporting to the high council, her mom was overcome with the spirit and expressed her desire to have what T has. HUGE miracle.

T called us very excited and asked if we would be able to teach her mom. Unfortunately though, we only teach single college age students, and so we gave her the number of the missionaries that serve in her mom's area. The missionaries serving there are elders, and super good missionaries. We were SO sad we couldn't teach her, but knew that Heavenly Father's plan is perfect.

A couple days pass and we get a frantic phone call from T saying that her mom does NOT want elders to teach her, she wanted sisters, and specifically the sisters that she had met in the hallway of the church (Sister Wood and I). So, we talked to the elders, and they said they would pray about it and figure it out. 

The next phone call we got was the elders saying that they had prayed and felt that it should be Sister Wood and I who taught her.... We were SO EXCITED, and we knew that we needed to teach her mom as soon as possible so the desire to learn didn't fade away.

We set up an appointment, and prayed and prepped so hard for the lesson. 


I have never experienced the spirit so strongly, so powerfully, and so clear in my entire life. The pure testimony that T shared and the desire she has for her mom and her sister ("H") was so tender and so genuine that we all got a little emotional. D's change of heart and willingness to try and to learn was incredible. H is twelve and was asking profound questions out of a sincere desire to learn. 

I was humbled to have experienced that, and to have been given the opportunity to be the missionaries who teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to this sweet family.

It's experiences like this that make everything worth it. 


I have a very simply humble testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the enabling power of the Atonement, and the gift of charity are so very real. The world may be dark, confusing, and chaotic, but the gospel will ALWAYS stand firm. It will always be a light that changes the hearts of many, and brings eternal happiness into the soul of the despair. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is truly the Lord's prophet called to lead us in this day and age, and I know that the priesthood he holds is essential for our progression. How grateful I am to have the opportunities of growth and experience in serving my Heavenly Father and representing my Savior. 

"I love ya'll and I'm so extremely grateful for you!
Much Love!!

Sister Holmes"



Once again, what a WEEK! :)

Have I ever mentioned how much I LLOOVVVEEE being a missionary?! 
Because I DO!

This week was awesome. We spent the beginning of the week mostly prepping for a Family History training that we had to give at MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference) on Wednesday. It was a lliitttlleee stressful, but it ended up going SO well. The spirit of Elijah definitely filled my heart. I wish I would have gotten into Family History more before my mission! 

MLC was so much fun!! I got to see Sister Brown and Sister Christiansen (from my MTC group) there because they are SLT's too! It was so much fun! We went to lunch during the conference which was super fun. It was a fun 2 hour road trip there and back :)
Speaking of road trips, I have had a few questions about traveling with my new assignment! The answer is yes! We travel a little bit! We do have a car (BLESSINGS), so we go on 24 hour exchanges with 7 sets of sisters every transfer. So we go to Perry, FL (about an hour away), Crawfordville, FL (about 40 minutes away) 4 sets are in Tallahassee, and then one of the sets of STL's (the furthest is 4 hours away). It's super fun, it's awesome being able to serve in different areas and seeing different parts of the mission! 

Also, yes... the weather is still absolutely miserable! But, I'm still alive so I guess it's not THAT bad. ;) ONE MORE MONTH OF THE HEAT!

Campus is still really slow, but school starts back up a week from Monday, so we just have to get through one more week, and then it's going to explode! We are SO READY for it. 

Our investigators are struggling a little bit right now! We only have a few that are really progressing. We are working with a girl name Melissa who is SUCH a sweet heart. She just graduated from High School this year and is going to TCC this fall. We have taught her a few times, and we are so excited with her testimony that's growing! We are praying really hard that she will continue to recognize the truth of the gospel!
Another investigator, Ivy, is doing okay. She has come to church the past couple weeks and has really enjoyed it, but we haven't been able to get a hold of her this week. :( We're hoping she's just away before school starts.

Sister Wood and I get along super great. I love her :) I have definitely been blessed with awesome companions! We laugh ALL THE TIME. It's the greatest thing ever. 

And, as always, here are the random things that happened this week. :)

-I watched two lizards fight (which who knew that lizards were fighting creatures?!) it was bizarre.
-We got called "Mama Wood" and "Auntie Holmes" by the elders this week because we were driving the mission mini van to MLC and we drive it on our P-day so all of us sisters can go places together. We got a kick out of that!
-We ACCIDENTALLY left a set of sisters in Crestview at lunch during MLC. haha we felt SO bad. But don't worry, we went and got them :)
-There was a CRAZY thunderstorm yesterday. It was the worst one I have experienced out here! It was a little nerve wracking, but so awesome! I LOVE THE THUNDER HER. It's intense!
-On an exchange, we got interviewed by this random guy on camera. haha it was the weirdest experience in the world. 
-I burnt my elbow on the hood of a car. haha that's all that need to be said. 

All in all, it has been a wonderful week! 

I want to leave you with a video that we shared at MLC. It's a cartoon, but we loved it. 

Family History is SUCH a gift we have been given! I encourage you to get on familysearch.org and seek out your kindred dead. There is so much work to be done! Take them to the temple, help them receive the gift of baptism! There is nothing more sacred than serving those that you knew long before. 

I love you all, and I am so grateful for each one of you!!!


All my love,
Sister Holmes :) 


Week #43: Lead Thou Me On


Things here in the south are hot, hot, HOT! August is a dreadful month, but all the green and spanish moss make up for that!

This week was a good week! I went on two exchanges this week with sisters in our zone and they were super awesome! We have some incredible sisters in this mission. I feel so so blessed to have the calling that I do so that I can meet so many of them and work with them!

Teaching has been a little rough this week. We have had SO MANY appointments fall through. So many. Like 85% of them. It's finals week, so we are blaming it on that. Rough though. That also means that school is officially out for these next two weeks, so we aren't exactly sure what we are going to do for the next 14 days, but Heavenly Father has something in store for us I'm sure!

Lots of little random things happened throughout the week though! 

-I fed a guinea pig (disgusting creatures) a carrot, then watched it pee on the KITCHEN TABLE. My focus in that lesson was difficult to keep... 
-On the way to Perry, FL for an exchange we passed a ranch called "Lick Skillet" ... Can you tell I'm in the south?
-I saw my first banana spider. ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. 
-I ate broccoli and hated every second of it. Never again. I hope...
-Found out that Elder Dube of the seventy and Elder Munns of the area seventy are coming to OUR Sacrament Meeting tomorrow! So that's pretty legit!
-Also, Elder Nielson (who gave the talk "Waiting on the Prodigal Son at conference) and Elder Stanfill of the seventy are coming to the mission for a special conference. That will be in a couple weeks. I am super excited for that! We've been studying two atonement talks by Elder Bednar at request of Elder Nielson to be prepared, so it should be really really good!
-Sister Wood and I ate an ENTIRE large pizza by ourselves in fifteen minutes today. Disgusting or impressive? You tell me ;) We were hungry okay?!
-We had interviews with President Smith this week, and boy. Do I sure love him! He is one inspired man and I am SOO grateful to know him!!! Such an incredible guy. 
-Also found out that Sister Wood and I have to train on Family History at MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference) on the 12th this week, gulp. pray for me!!

All in all, it was a wonderful week, and went by WAY too fast. But, time flies when you are havin fun I suppose!

I love ya'll and I'm so grateful for all the love! 
I have been LOVING this hymn lately, and testify of every word it says. I pray every night that Heavenly Father will "lead thou me on."

"Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene--one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.
So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile"

Have a happy happy week full of lots of blessings and memories!


Sister Holmes:)

Week #42: What the AUGUST?!

I can't believe July has come and gone! Time is picking up speed real quickly!
This week was a good one! Nothing too exciting to report on, but we did get a few new investigators that we are super excited to work with, and we also met some really awesome people. I went on my first exchange this week as a Sister Training Leader (STL) and boy. I don't feel cut out for this calling! I have been a stress case all week! I thought p-day was never going to get here. haha but thank heavens for my student gov training with stress. ;)

TCC is great! super small, but it's fun because you get to know EVERYONE on campus! so that's pretty awesome! 

Sister Wood and I are TERRIBLE at asking for referrals, so we came up with a reward system to help us remember. We decided that if we asked for two referrals everyday, one in a lesson and one in a contact, for five days in a row, we would go to this place called Crepe Vine, and guess what. We did it! We are SO excited! That's our dinner for tonight. :)

This email is super lame.. BUT I'm doing good, and still L O V I N G it out here. It is hotter than hot, and the humidity is a killer, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I have been super blessed with amazing companions and great areas, and I still am loving every bit of it. 

Also, I had another "lexa" moment this week. I learned that all the months have the same amount of days every year. Who knew! hahaha I am such an idiot sometimes! My sweet companion sure got a kick out of that one!

I'll leave you with a story that Sister Wood shared with me this morning. It's from the talk Come and See by Elder Bednar given in the October General Conference of last year, and I absolutely love it.

"One evening Susan and I stood near a window in our home and watched two of our little boys playing outside. During the course of their adventures, the younger of the two boys was injured slightly in a small accident. We quickly recognized that he was not seriously hurt, and we decided not to provide immediate assistance. We wanted to observe and see if any of our family discussions about brotherly kindness had sunk in. What happened next was both interesting and instructive.

The older brother consoled and carefully helped the younger brother back into the house. Susan and I had positioned ourselves near the kitchen so we could see what next took place, and we were prepared to intervene immediately if additional bodily harm seemed likely or a serious accident was imminent.

The older brother dragged a chair to the kitchen sink. He climbed up on the chair, assisted his brother onto the chair, turned on the water, and proceeded to pour a large quantity of dishwashing soap onto the scratched arm of his little brother. He did his best to gently wash away the dirt. The reaction of the little brother to this procedure can only be described accurately using language from the holy scriptures: “And they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth” (Mosiah 16:2). And did that little boy howl!

After the scrubbing was finished, the arm was carefully dried with a towel. Eventually the screaming stopped. The older brother next climbed up onto the kitchen counter, opened a cabinet, and found a new tube of medicated ointment. Though the scratches on his little brother were not large or extensive, the older brother applied almost all of the ointment in the tube to the entire injured arm. The screaming did not resume, as the little brother clearly liked the soothing effect of the ointment much more than he appreciated the cleansing effect of the dishwashing soap.

The older brother returned again to the cabinet in which he had found the ointment and located a new box of sterile bandages. He then unwrapped and put bandages all up and down his brother’s arm—from the wrist to the elbow. With the emergency resolved, and with soap bubbles, ointment, and wrappers all over the kitchen, the two little boys hopped down from the chair with bright smiles and happy faces.

What happened next is most important. The injured brother gathered up the remaining bandages and the almost empty tube of ointment, and he went back outside. He quickly sought out his friends and began to put ointment and bandages on their arms. Susan and I both were struck by the sincerity, enthusiasm, and rapidity of his response.

Why did that little boy do what he did? Please note that he immediately and intuitively wanted to give to his friends the very thing that had helped him when he was hurt."

Every member is a missionary. Are we doing those things to keep us spiritually strong? Are we reading our scriptures everyday, more importantly studying them? Are we sincerely praying to our Heavenly Father always? Are we attending ALL of our church meetings regularly? Are we spiritually prepared to share the things we know and love with those who don't know about it? Are we gaining the trust of Heavenly Father for those people to be placed in OUR path? I hope and pray that we each gain the pure desire that this little boy had. I hope we are strengthening our testimonies so that we too can run to all those around us and share the gospel that we love so dearly.

I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve my Heavenly Father, to represent my Savior, Jesus Christ, and to run to those around me to shed the light of the gospel into their lives. I am forever grateful for the things I continue to learn about not only strengthening my self, but strengthening others through the enabling power of the atonement. 

I challenge you to pray for a missionary opportunity and take advantage of the one Heavenly Father places in your path. No greater joy comes than when you share the gospel. 

I love each and every one of you!!! 

Have a blessed day! (I hate that farewell, but I'm in the south, so I'm going to use it anyway.)

Sister Holmes :)