Wk# 50: THE LIFE.

What an adventure filled week!!!

Saturday night we went with Tira to get snow cones on Lake Ella. I haven't had a snow cone my entire mission... they don't have them here! But this place was crazy!! It had over 70 flavors, so many toppings, and it was SO GOOD. It was WAY fun! Then we played ultimate Frisbee as a district which is always fun!

Monday morning started out with some awesome lessons and a new investigator named Fabrice from West Africa. He's got a really strong french accent, so it's a little difficult to understand him, but he's super awesome! After lunch we packed our bags and headed on a road trip to help with an Emergency Transfer....


You guys. I LOVE BAMA. I hope to serve there one day! We got to take cute Sister Brandt down to Fairhope, AL and it was SUCH a fun road trip! The drive was gorgeous!

We spent the night in the Fairhope apartment, and it is the cutest apartment I have ever seen. Not to mention, the couch was the size of a full size bed and felt like HEAVEN. 

We up and left early Tuesday morning to get back to Tally at a decent time (it's a 4ish hour drive, so not too bad) and on our way home we made some fun little pit stops! What a better way to spend my 11 month birthday! We went to some pretty redneck southern souvenier shops, and had some good food breaks!
and YUP. I've been out 11 months! WWHHAATT.

Anyway, it was SO much fun, and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to see the mission! We ended up driving through most of it!  Sister Wood and I had a great time, and laughed lots and lots. Great memories were made! 

On Wednesday we got to go into one of the college classes and do a presentation on Family History. It was super cool! Then we had a Specialized Zone Training with President and Sister Smith. Sister Wood and I had the opportunity to teach at that, and it was a really good experience. We trained on Family History and what tools Family Search has to offer! The Zone Training was focused on Family History and "Opportunity Generation Next."

(I can't remember if I've talked about this in an email already... so if I have, I apologize.)

We have received council from Elder Nielson (who came and toured our mission) to implement a new form of missionary work. It has only been done in the Philippines, and they saw incredible success. This has never been done in the States before! We are taking the focus off of baptism, and putting it on the temple. We will now focus on reactivation! Our goal is to make the church here in the south strong. By doing so, we reach a new pool of potential investigators! By going through the less active members, we will find more people to teach and baptize, while reactivating members. 
I am SUPER pumped about this. The spirit has definitely testified that this is the key to unlocking the south! It's going to be awesome. 

To reactivate members, we will be using family history, which brings me to the next incredible thing.

President and Sister Smith, as well as the office elders, have spent countless hours working on something that no other mission has ever had! We are the first in the world to take this approach and use this. They have designed and created a Family History Pamphlet, just like the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc pamphlets that we use to teach! It teaches the doctrine of Family History and transitions into the Restoration! IT'S AMAZING. 

Heavenly Father is definitely hastening the work here right now! We have so many new incredible tools to use! BLESSINGS!!!

Wednesday night we also got to teach Dena! I LOVE HER. She is definitely progressing, and we are still praying for October 10th as her baptism day!! Man, she is incredible.

We ate at a member's home that night as well and had Pork Chops. YYUUMMMM. I love eating normal food!

Thursday we taught lots of lessons and then I went to Crawfordville, FL on an exchange until last night! It was super fun, and we got to ride bikes! I haven't ridden a bike since I was in Callaway. Do I want to chop my legs off? You better believe it! It was way good though, and the weather was gorgeous! I also saw the most disgusting bugs there. I gagged. Yep. Gagged. 

And tonight is the General Woman's Broadcast! I AM SO EXCITED! I can't believe General Conference is already here. I also can't believe that Elder Scott passed away! It's going to be a very eventful conference! 

Robert D. Hales once said, "There has always been a desperate need for the steady and reassuring voice of a living prophet of God: one who will speak the mind and will of God in showing the way to spiritual safety and personal peace and happiness...A characteristic of prophets throughout the ages is that, regardless of the consequences, they have had the strength to speak the words of God with plainness and boldness...With the restoration of the priesthood in 1829, there was a restoration of prophets in this dispensation. Living prophets are leading this church today. The greatest security of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes from learning to listen to and obey the words and commandments that the Lord has given through living prophets. I would hope that the world would understand the importance of having a living prophet on earth today...If we listen to the prophets of this day, poverty would be replaced with loving care for the poor and needy. Many serious and deadly health problems would be avoided through compliance with the Word of Wisdom and the laws of sexual purity. Payment of tithing would bless us, and we would have sufficient for our needs. If we follow the counsel given by the prophets, we can have a life in mortality where we do not bring upon ourselves unnecessary pain and self-destruction. This does not mean we will not have challenges. We will. This does not mean we will not be tested. We will, for this is part of our purpose on earth. But if we will listen to the counsel of our prophet, we will become stronger and be able to withstand the tests of mortality. We will have hope and joy. All the words of counsel from the prophets of all generations have been given so that we may be strengthened and then be able to lift and strengthen others...Our spiritual safety lies in turning to the clear voice of our living prophet. If we listen to his voice and obey his counsel, we will be able to live as Christ would have us live and endure to the end so that one day we, along with our families, will return back into the presence of our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ."

I hope and pray that we can heed to the council of the leaders of this beautiful church, for how blessed are we to have the church that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, established. 

I love this gospel, and I love President Thomas S. Monson. I know he is indeed the living prophet in these latter days. I support him, I believe in him, and I follow him. 

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

All my love!
Sister Holmes

Also... My next P-Day will be Monday October 5th, due to General Conference that weekend :)


Wk # 49: CHOOSE to Believe.

Another week! WHOO!

First of all, HUGE thank you to all who have shared their testimonies with me! What a HUGE blessing it has been!!

Second of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my old man!!! LOVE YOU DAD!

Nothing super exciting happened this week, we went on two exchanges with our sisters, one to Crawfordville, FL and one to the other side of Tallahassee. They were super good! I got to work with one of the new sisters in the mission, and she is awesome. I love the greeny fire! 
We had some really great lessons this week, got a few new investigators, and have been praying really hard for the investigators we already had. Satan is workin over time on those poor people!! But, they are all doing good. :) 

In one of our lessons this week, we were teaching a guy named Johnnie who we have been working with for about a month now. We always have the same member with us because they are buddies, and we hadn't seen them for a while. It ended up being an awesome lesson, and at the end Johnnie said, "Ya'll are my squad. My G squad. My God Squad!!" it was super funny! So now Sister Wood and I are the "God Squad" haha it was awesome.

It's been pretty hot again this week, 98* today in fact! But I hear it's coolin off in the west, so I'm hopin it starts making it's way over here!

This email is super lame today, my apologies! Really, nothing too exciting happened!

OH! Sister Wood and I do get to go on a secret mission though!!! Okay, not secret, but we get to take a roadtrip across the mission to help with some emergency transfers, so we are PUMPED!!! 

Also, for FHE the singles ward played quidditch. GREATEST THING OF MY LIFE! It was beyond hilarious!!! I unfortunately was in a skirt, so I couldn't play, but oh how I wish I could have! next time... 

I ate my my first pumpkin doughnut of the year this week. I LOVE THE FALL.

I also ate crappy lasagna and gag worthy salad dressing with dog hair on the table. the south for the WIN! haha 

But today I want to leave you with a little snippet of Elder L. Whitney Clayton's talk, Choose to Believe, from last general conference. I studied it this morning and LOVED it. It goes along with one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 17:13 (shout out to my girl Sister Rohwer!)

"Every day each of us faces a test. It is the test of our lifetimes: will we choose to believe in Him and allow the light of His gospel to grow within us, or will we refuse to believe and insist on traveling alone in the dark? The Savior provides His gospel as a light to guide those who choose to believe in and follow Him... There may be times when we have been hurt, when we are tired, and when our lives seem dark and cold. There may be times when we cannot see any light on the horizon, and we may feel like giving up. If we are willing to believe, if we desire to believe, if we choose to believe, then the Savior's teachings and example will show us the pathway forward... Belief and testimony and faith are not passive principles. They do not just happen to us. Belief is somethings we choose--we hope for it, we work for it, and we sacrifice for it. We will not accidentally come to believe in the Savior and His gospel any more than we will accidentally pray or pay tithing. We actively choose to believe, just like we choose to keep other commandments... We..must give place for the hope that we will find spiritual light by embracing belief rather than choosing to doubt. Our actions are the evidence of our belief and become the substance of our faith. We are choosing to believe when we pray and when we read the scriptures. We are choosing to believe when we fast,k when we keep the Sabbath day holy, and when we worship in the temple. We are choosing to believe when we are baptized and when we partake of the sacrament. We are choosing to believe when we repent and seek divine forgiveness and healing love... Sometimes progress in spiritual things can seem slow or intermittent. Sometimes we may feel that we have lost ground, that we have made mistakes, or that our best efforts to find the Savior are not working. If you feel this way, please do not give up--ever. Go right on believing in Him and in His gospel and His Church. Align your actions with that belief. In those moments when the light of your faith has dimmed, let your hope for the Savior's love and grace, found in His gospel and His Church, overcome your doubt. I promise that He stands ready to receive you. Over time you will come to see that you have made the best choice you could possibly have made. Your courageous decision to believe in Him will bless you immeasurably and forever."


Life is good and I am blessed. 

All my love, 
Sister Holmes



Wk # 48: H E L L O :)

Once again, it was another wonderful week full of so many tender mercies AND COOLER WEATHER! I feel so spoiled.
Labor Day was interesting... there were ZERO people on campus! It was brutal. We were the only two souls on TCC. haha but it ended up being a good day :) We were able to see Dena Monday night though, and once again. Another INCREDIBLE lesson. We set a baptismal date with her, and we are SO EXCITED! Heavenly Father is working miracles in that family. So many miracles. I am extremely humbled and grateful that He's letting me witness it. 

Tuesday we had lots of cancelled appointments, and lots of contacting, and we ended up getting a few new investigators that are super awesome!

Wednesday we got to go back to Crestview for MLC. It's always SO spiritually uplifting and fun. I am SUPER excited because our mission is the first in the United States to implement a new form of work! It's only been done in the Philippines, and they had a ton of success. When Elder Stanfil and Elder Nelson came and toured our mission, they left President and Sister Smith with a huge prompting for the mission. Elder Nelson said that he had never before been prompted to implement this in the United States, but is super excited to see the outcome. We will now be focusing on less active/ inactive members more than finding new investigators. Our goal is to strengthen the church here in the south and help them become unified and strong. I am SO excited about this. The way it was presented was incredible, and the spirit definitely let me know that this is what's going to unlock the south! 

Thursday we were blessed to teach lessons ALL day. It was a miracle!! I can't even express how grateful I was for that. The things we taught were so strong, and the spirit was with us all day. Huge blessing!!

I went on an exchange with cute Sister Lawrence serving on FSU and that was super fun! She is a sweetheart. We were able to teach someone on the spot on TCC campus, and he was super interested became a new investigator! It was AWESOME!!! 

We got to share the gospel with so many people this week, and my testimony grew so much. I have SUCH a strong testimony of diligence and patience. Heavenly Father is super aware of each one of us!!! 

I don't have anything else super exciting, but man. it was SUCH a great week!!! 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, 
"I think that people who study the scriptures get a dimension to their life that nobody else gets and that can't be gained in any way except by studying the scriptures... There's an increase in faith and a desire to do what's right and a feeling of inspiration and understanding that comes to people who study the gospel--meaning particularly the Standard Works--and who ponder the principles, that can't come in any other way."

I love you all so much, and hope that you study the scriptures and apply the teachings into your life. They will forever bless you and your family!


Sister Holmes :) 

Wk # 47: "God has not ceased to be a God of miracles."

Happy Saturday to my favorite people!! I hope this beautiful September day is treating ya'll well!
Once again, this week was a fantastic one. And once again, it has changed my life.

On Monday we got together as a Zone and played our usual dodge ball game against the other Tally Zone, so that was super fun! (I am an absolutely horrible dodge ball player, and mostly just stand behind the elders... so it's great!) In one of the games I ended up being the last person in on my team, go figure, and actually caught the ball which meant that all my team was back in! GO ME! haha I not only surprised myself, but my whole team was shocked! it was awesome!

On Tuesday, one of our "regulars" (someone we see ALL the time on campus but isn't interested in the gospel) said to me, "Baby, you go out there and kick Satan's rear!" After a little giggle, she began telling us about an experience she had had and how much she loves Jesus, then turned to me again and said, "Baby, Jesus is smokin hot. SMOKIN HOT."  What is that even supposed to mean?! TALLAHASSEE MAN. It's another world! 

Wednesday we got to be a part of transfers! Luckily, I'm staying here on TCC with Sister Wood, but it was super fun getting to see all the changes being made throughout the mission and meeting all of the new sisters! Transfers are held in Crestview, so it was a long day of driving, but we had a really fun time. We even passed through Holmes County! 

On our way there, the bike that was hooked onto the back of our car started coming off the bike rack on the freeway, so we pulled over and I was putting it back on, and this SUPER nice guy pulled over and helped us! Faith in humanity was restored! So that was pretty exciting! He gave us three bungee cords... I don't know what we are going to do with them now, but we were super grateful!

We taught lots and lots of lessons this week, and it was super awesome. We also got a few new investigators that we are excited about! It was a really great week!

We also got to teach Dena and Hannah again this week. I'M SO OVERWHELMED WITH GRATITUDE. Those lessons are the most powerful lessons I have ever experienced. On Monday we reviewed Alma 32 with them and answered some concerns that Dena had had, but then last night we were able to teach about the Plan of Salvation. (side note: this is my favorite lesson to teach.) Dena was so sweet and offered to feed us dinner as well! She bought us Chik-fil-a (SCORE!) and we talked and laughed and had a really good time! Then, we began the lesson. As soon as we started, the spirit filled the room. She always has incredible questions and has truly been striving to understand. As we walked through the Plan with her, her countenance continued to change, and her heart was being softened. We really focused on baptism as we got to the Earth Life. This is something she has had concerns about and not fully understood, so we wanted to help her know why it was so important. It was amazing. As we progressed through and finally finished, there were lots of tears, lots of love, and lots of prayers answered. We truly experienced a miracle as Dena expressed to us her feelings and concerns, but SHE KNOWS. She knows it is true! And she WANTS IT. I can't express how amazing it was. I have NEVER felt the spirit like I did last night. I keep saying that, but it was a very humbling, eye opening experience for me. To see a mother and a daughter talk about being an eternal family one day was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever been a part of. 

I am so grateful for this gospel, for the Plan of Salvation, and for eternal families. I have been so overcome with the spirit the last week. Miracles DO happen. When you exercise your faith and go to work, miracles follow. 

To end, I want to leave you with a poem my sweet mission president, President Smith shared with us. 

"Down shadowy lanes, across strange streams Bridged over by our broken dreams; Behind the misty caps of years, Beyond the great salt fount of tears, The garden lies. Strive as you may, You cannot miss it in your way. All paths that have been, or shall be, Pass somewhere through Gethsemane. All those who journey, soon or late, Must pass within the gardens gate; Must kneel alone in darkness there, And battle with some fierce despair. God pity those who cannot say, Not mine but thine, who only pray, Let this cup pass, and cannot see The purpose in Gethsemane."

Peace 'n Blessins!

 :) Sister Holmes