Man, the holiday spirit is in the air! I LOVE IT.

I hope ya'll had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was SO good. Gah. I love the people here. Love, love love. 

But, before I get into all that, let's start at the beginning of the week!

Saturday after we emailed, we went home to clean, and started vacuuming. Our vacuum hasn't really been doing the greatest job lately, so sister evans took it upon herself to figure out why, and oh my gosh. haha we flipped the vacuum upside down and hair...  so.. much... hair... you can DEFINITELY tell it's been sisters in this apartment for a LONG time. so we cut the hair out (she did, it made me gag). There was so much that we joked about donating it to Locks of Love. haha SO BAD. 

Then on Sunday, I was having a little bit of a hard day, when all of the sudden there was a knock on our door! We opened it up to see our door decorated with cute fall leaves and happy quotes AND homemade BREAD!!! I about died. Tender mercies all up in here. No one even knew I was having a hard day. I love people. Plus it was my 13 month birthday. HOLLA. 

On Monday while we were on campus, we had gone into one of the buildings and saw our investigator Willie sitting with a group of people, so we went over to say hi to him. The group began asking us questions, so we explained that we were missionaries and talked about what we do. We then were all of the sudden getting made fun of (I didn't think anything of it) but we decided to leave. After we walked outside, someone yelled to us so we turned around and it was one of the guys in the group. He ran over to us and apologized, and expressed how much that bothered him. Then asked us what church we were from, then BAM! We were teaching him the Restoration, he LOVED it and he became a new investigator!!! There's always good with the bad!

We had a couple investigators at Family Home Evening which was HUGE! We can never seem to get anyone there for some reason. But it ended up being so fun, and they all loved it!

The we got 5... yes FIVE investigators to Institute... and it was a MIRACLE! The spirit was SO strong. Maybe because Tira taught? She's so good. I love her. 

Transfers were on Wednesday, which meant we got to drive to good ole' Crestview! I'm getting old. Every time we drive there my hips lock up. Those 3 hours get me. What is happening to me?! Anyways, I'm still with Sister Evans! YAY! There were lots of changes this transfer!

We taught Derek again this week. SO powerful. This kid is incredible. He told us that he is ready to be baptized, is excited for the priesthood, asked us about a MISSION, and wants to convert EVERYBODY. AH. I love him! The spirit was sooooo strong. I wish ya'll could meet him! December 12th people! It's going to be a great day!

Willie's baptismal date has been moved to January 2nd, and Melissa (who was supposed to be baptized today) was changed as well. Satan is REALLY working on her family. Keep them in your prayers!

Now, THANKSGIVING. It was SO fun!!! We started the day out by calling all of our sisters like we do every thursday, then made our contributions for Thanksgiving, then headed over to the institute to have lunch with all of our district, President and Sister Smith, the Wilde's, the Dalley's and some ward members who didn't have anywhere to go. There was SO much food. I made snicker apple salad (it was a HUGE hit! I was so happy!) I ate so much. We then played ping pong, fuse ball, and scrud. It was so much fun. Sister Evans broke her toe... so that wasn't fun, but she's okay. We've been playing doctor. haha Then that evening we went to Tira and Hannah's. I LOVE THEM. It was SO yummy! We had such a good time with them all! I love their dad. He reminds me a lot of dad! It makes me happy. My heart was so full of gratitude all day long. Seriously, so much happiness. 

I can't believe we are in this beautiful season. What a happy time of year to have everyone focused on the Savior! I want to leave ya'll with this bible video that we shared in a lesson the other day that REALLY hit me. I'm so grateful for the Atonement and the privilege of celebrating the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

I love each and every one of you and hope that you all have a WONDERFUL rest of your week!!! 

Sister Holmes :)

Wk# 58: Live in Thanksgiving Daily

I don't even know where to start this week...
Another pair of shoes ready for retirement

As I sit here and reflect back on what has happened the last few days, I feel like there were so many things, and yet, I have no idea what to write! haha So, bear with me. 

We FINALLY got in contact with two of the members of our ward who aren't currently participating in the blessings of the gospel. (We aren't supposed to call them Less Actives...) We met one of them at a SUPER ghetto McDonald's and got to know her and her boyfriend. We were super grateful for her willingness to meet, and we are praying the desire to come back to church will touch her heart. We met with the other one at the institute and helped her understand the doctrine of family history, which left her with a desire to come back so she can go to the temple! whoo hoo!

We taught Derek and whoa. He was definitely created to be somebody extremely important in the gospel. I have NEVER experienced a more powerful conversion journey than the one with Derek. I feel so overwhelmed that Heavenly Father continually allows me to work with him! It's amazing. We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and the Priesthood this week. As we were teaching about the Word of Wisdom, the spirit was so strong and at the end of the lesson when we committed him to live it he responded with, "Oh! I already made up my mind at the beginning of the lesson that I was going to live it!" Okay.. haha What a blessing! Then, we taught about the Priesthood because that was one of the few things holding him back from being baptized, and after we taught it he said, "Little do you know, every scripture we read today that you guys had planned are the scriptures that I studied last night looking for answers." He shared with us some experiences he has been having with the adversary, and I mean VERY powerful, very scary experiences with the forces of evil since he's been meeting with us. Yet, here he is, firm in his testimony knowing that these things are only happening because Satan doesn't want him on this path. We talked to him about Priesthood Blessings, and when he understood that you don't have to be a member to receive one, his face lit up and wanted one right then. Luckily, we were in the Institute, so the senior couple, Elder and Sister Dalley were there. So, Derek received his first priesthood blessing! It was SO POWERFUL. We saw Derek the next day, and I have NEVER seen someone so happy and full of light. And of course, he gave all the credit to the blessing. He is one incredible kid.

We saw Willie this week as well. That kid gives me the urge to smack my palm to my forehead and pull him by the ear to church, but I refrain. haha He is doing SUPER good. We taught him the Word of Wisdom as well and it went great! He completely understands everything and would give up his life for the opportunity to be baptized. He's a very special kid, and again, I feel so blessed. 

Both Willie and Derek's baptisms are still on for December 12th! 

We saw Melissa this week as well. Her baptism is still good for the 28th (next saturday) but her parents are starting to give her a hard time about it. It's been really really sad. Melissa wants to be baptized SO bad, but there has been a lot of opposition. We taught her about fasting, and we all fasted together. She was SO cute about it and was so excited. Pray for her!

Hannah is doing great. She is beyond smart, it kills me. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and of course, she knew it all! Plus, she asks the most profound questions for a 12 year old. I love working with her! And again, I AM SO EXCITED TO EAT THANKSGIVING DINNER WITH THEM. You guys have no idea. 

We got a few new investigators this week who are SO prepared!!! Curel, Rachel, Terrah, Siera, and Vinny, and Johnnie! 

Johnnie was a former investigator, if you guys remember at all. Sister Wood and I taught him, he dropped us, and now he back WAY solid! We had an incredible lesson with him, and he is a totally different person. It was cool to hear how his testimony had grown as he had left the gospel behind. We're really proud of him!

It's been a really stressful week for me. We have had a lot of trouble with some of the sisters and it's been very overwhelming. I was telling Sister Evans last night that I don't even remember what it feels like to not be stressed! I've definitely learned to rely on the Lord 100% to get me through, or else I wouldn't make it. I am very, very grateful for the enabling power of the atonement this week!

It's finally starting to cool down here, we're in the high 70's low 80's! It makes me SO happy! It's also been rainy, so it actually feels like fall... winter... whatever time of year it is. 

What a life I live... the BEST life! I'm still doing great and loving every moment of my mission. I'm very grateful for the support I continually recieve, for the prayers and mine and Cade's behalf, and for the love that I always feel. Sometimes I feel like I'm the most blessed person in the world. :)

Since it's Thanksgiving week, I'll leave you with this:

In the talk Live in Thanksgiving Daily by Elder Joseph B. Worthlin he says, "Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable.

You might be surprised to know that gratitude is a commandment of the Father. “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7)...In the Book of Mormon we learn that we should “live in thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38). Isn’t that a wonderful thought to live in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if you lived in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if others did the same? Do you think the world would be a happier place? less stressful? less angry? more spiritual?

President Joseph F. Smith proclaimed: “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 263)...Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent. It forges bonds of love and fosters loyalty and admiration.

Living in thanksgiving daily is a habit that will enrich our lives and the lives of those we love."

I testify of everything he said. What a better way to live our lives than in gratitude? Mariom G. Romney said, " if we do these things which he has advised us to do, we will be the happiest people who dwell upon the earth, for this is the way to the presence and society of our Father in heaven. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I love you all!!!! 

I hope ya'll gobble till ya wobble!

Sister Holmes :)

Wk #57: Touch Heaven

Hello my loves!

This week was so good. Like, so good! 

We taught some incredible lessons, found some incredible new investigators, and felt an incredible amount of the spirit! So, I guess you could say it was an incredible week. ;)

Crepes for Sister Evans' birthday!
We went on a couple exchanges this week, which meant... I got to go to FSU!! That place has my heart. I was so excited to go back :) We had a really good day there :) I got to see lots of familiar faces, so that was really fun.

Zone Training
We had Zone Training this week, and man. Was it powerful! Our zone is ROCKIN. Seriously. Every stinkin missionary is amazing. It makes my heart so happy! Sister Evans and I got to teach on how to have fun in the work. (Side note- due to our schedule the last week, we had ZERO time to plan. So we planned the night before and woke up early to finish it... Yup. Talk about anxiety!) You guys. It went AMAZING. Heavenly Father definitely provides. it was really fun, we had each missionary write down one embarrassing/awkward moment from their mission and put it in a bowl. We then had 3 sisters and 3 elders come up, chose one out of the bowl and act it out. Best game of charades I have EVER been apart of. Everyone LOVED it! We all got a good laugh out of it. 
An Artiste unveiled...

We had a Relief Society activity last night where one of the members in our ward (she's an art major) taught everyone to paint. IT WAS SO FUN. I now just want to paint all the time! 

Also, random moment of the week: I made Sister Evans laugh so hard that she peed her pants in the car. hahaha She had to feel the seat and make sure it wasn't wet! I about died. And she'll probably die if she finds out I said that! 

Now, some updates on the people:
Melissa is doing A-MAZING. Gah. I am so so proud of her. We had some really awesome lessons with her this week, and she is still good to be baptized on the 28th!! We are extremely excited!
Willie. haha he makes me laugh so hard. I wish I could record him and send ya'll the video. He's a hoot. But he is doing good as well. We were super bummed because he got called into work super last minute last Sunday, so he wasn't able to come to church. :( His baptism got bumped to December 12th, but he's still really excited!

Derek is out of this world. I can't even describe in words how grateful I am to be a part of his journey. He's one incredible kid. His baptism got bumped to the 12th as well, but he is solid, solid, solid. 

We have another investigator, Kaleel, that is REALLY close to setting a baptismal date! So keep him in your prayers!
Tally fogged in

Also, Andrew... that kid. haha Satan is workin over time on the poor guy! He STILL hasn't been confirmed yet. So pray that he'll make it this Sunday! It's been a stress of a situation. 
Also... guess who we got to teach last night!!! HANNAH!!!! Remember when Sister Wood and I taught Tira's mom and sister? We finally got to see her sister again! We were at Tira's dad's house this time, and man. My love for that family is UNREAL. They were so kind and fed us an incredible dinner, and it felt like I was at home. Cute little hannah just knows everything and has the cutest testimony in the world. Then, to top it all off, their sweet dad invited us over for Thanksgiving!! I about cried! Again, I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude that Heavenly Father put that sweet family in my life. 

This morning we had a lesson with a girl named Esther. It's FSU's homecoming today, so traffic was a mess. The scouts here use the church parking lot to earn money for the scouting program so the church lot was CRAZY. As people were driving in to pay for a parking spot, Sister Evans and I were waiting on the corner for Esther so she wouldn't have to pay. After a long while of waiting (she got lost), she finally made it, and we went into the Family History Center to have our lesson. This was quite possibly one of the coolest lessons I have ever been a part of. Why? Esther is deaf, and can't read lips. :) So, we got to have a silent lesson where the Spirit was the universal language. We had her watch the lesson taught in ASL on lds.org. We typed throughout our conversation. It taught me a very cherished lesson that it doesn't matter what words you use, how you say things, or what they say. All that matters is that you let the spirit teach them. You guys. It was SO POWERFUL. AND, she's coming to church and bringing her friends to her next lesson. How amazing is that! I had tears in my eyes. She also signed the closing prayer, and that was so so neat. 

I'm just super grateful for so many things!!!

Another highlight of my week was helping Errick do his family history. He's a recent convert and someone we work with. His family history is really difficult to do, and he hasn't gotten very far at all. We helped him a few nights ago, and after an HOUR of searching.. All the sudden we found one record that lead to like 4 names he can take to the temple!! The spirit of Elijah was crazy strong. It was SUCH a neat experience!

Gosh. I LOVE THE GOSPEL. I can't even say it enough!!! 

Most of you know how big I am on gratitude, and since we are nearing closer to the holiday of thanks I thought I'd leave you with this quote that I absolutely love by President Monson. 

“To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.”

I hope that we can all touch heaven this holiday season. I love you all!!!

the happiest sister in the field, 

Sister Holmes

ps- you gotta have a selfie every once in a while, right? ;) 


Wk #56: I'm on a SPIRITUAL HIGH!

I swear. Every week is the best week of my mission. And that is more than true for this week as well!
I am SO HAPPY. I wish I could express how happy my heart is, but there just aren't words to even start! I have been SO blessed this week with miracle after miracle, and tender mercy after tender mercy, and my life has been changed. Again. ;)

We had a BAPTISM! Andrew was SO excited, and the spirit was so strong. It was right after church, so the entire ward was there and it was awesome. Elder Dalley and a kid named Birkley spoke at the baptism and Sister Evans and I gave the prayers. We watched short little videos while Andrew was getting changed. He came out of the water SO happy. My heart was filled with joy to see one of Heavenly Father's children take that step into the Kingdom. He gets confirmed tomorrow (PRAY FOR HIM. He went to Atlanta and is stuck there, so we are praying that he makes it back for church tomorrow!!!) We are so proud of him. :)
Mission Leadership Conference... Reunited with Sister Rindlisbacher and Sister Brown. Happy!

We got a new investigator, Kahlil, and boy. Is he prepared! We had an INCREDIBLE lesson on the Restoration, and the spirit was definitely there. We are so excited about him, and can't wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for him. 
The smiles say it all....
Later that day, we were sitting in the library on TCC waiting for our appointment, and I had the strongest feeling that we needed to go to the food court if our appointment didn't show up. I didn't say anything to Sister Evans, but time went on and he never showed up. Again, I was super prompted. I turned to Sister Evans and told her that we needed to go to the food court because someone was in there that we needed to see. So we grabbed our stuff and speed walked over there. We walked in and there was no one... right as I was about to doubt the prompting (never do that..) I look up, and there he was. WILLIE. You guys. I LOVE WILLIE! We hadn't been able to get a hold of him (he doesn't have a phone...) and we hadn't seen him for a while and we weren't sure how we were going to get a hold of him, and there he was! We asked him if he could meet with us right then, he said yes, and then we had the most powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was so powerful, and.... We committed him to be baptized.. and HE ACCEPTED! November 28th people!!! HUGE miracle!

Tuesday we had District Meeting which is ALWAYS awesome, a few appointments and then we got to go to Costco! I had to pick up my meds and it just HAPPENED to be SAMPLE DAY. hahaha Yep. We may or may not have walked around and eaten samples. It was awesome. We also found ginormous teddy bears that were like 10 feet tall! It's always a good place to be!
We also had our MLC this week, but it was a retreat! Twice a year they have a retreat where all the leadership in the mission go and have a bonfire and play volleyball and hang out at the mission home. It was SO fun. I LOVE the missionaries here. I'm surrounded by incredible people. We had a way good time. All of the STL's got to spend the night in the mission home, which was AWESOME. Even cooler than that, Exactly a year ago I was at the MTC on my first day in FL. Pretty fun!
A pig neck in the green beans for flavoring they say... a good reason to avoid green beans I say!!! GAG!!!
Wednesday we had MLC (the actual leadership training) and boy was I spiritually uplifted. I am eternally grateful for President and Sister Smith. They have changed my life. I swear they are perfect. But Sister Evans and I had the opportunity to teach at MLC. We created a new exchange report that President loved so much he wanted it implemented mission wide. So we got to train on that! It was a super awesome day. 

We got to meet with Melissa super last minute, and yet again, another miracle lesson! We taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it finally clicked for her! It was a really great lesson, and... We committed her to be baptized too!! YUP! She accepted... Her date is also for November 28th! We are SO excited! She is such a sweetheart and definitely deserves the blessings of baptism!
We also got to meet with a less active named I-Jah. I LOVE I-JAH. We had an amazing lesson with him, and HE'S COMIN BACK!!!! I'm SO excited!!!

I was on exchanges and had a sister from Perry at TCC with me! It was super fun.
We got a new investigator named Malia... it's not spelled that way.. but I can't remember how to spell it. Anyway, she is way interested and is so excited to learn more. 
But, let's back up. Remember Derek? The one who is like WAY prepared? yeah. So, he didn't want to meet with us this week (which made us SUPER nervous) and hadn't heard from him. We had texted him on Thursday night and had just let him know that we were thinking about him. Well, friday I wake up and see the phone lit up, so I go and look, and you'll never believe what it said... it said "I believe. I want to be baptized!" WHAT!! Talk about a good morning! So, we moved our schedule around so that we could see derek. We did Family History with him which ended up being way sweet, and then we took him on a church tour. I have never been so overcome with the spirit in my life. As we reached the baptismal font, I was fighting back tears, and so was everyone else. We had a really powerful conversation, and then.,... we committed him to be baptized. He has had one crazy experience after another telling him this is true. So guess what... that's THREE baptisms on NOVEMBER 28th!!!! 

I KNOW I am supposed to be on TCC for Derek. The spirit has testified that to me time and time again. My heart is so full of gratitude that the spirit led us to him a few weeks ago. Heavenly Father has definitely been blessing us this week, and I don't feel like I deserve it, but I'm very humbled and grateful. 

You guys, this gospel is so true. I can't express how much love I have for the blessings of the scriptures and prayer. Never in my life have I been more converted to the gospel then I have this week. I know with every thing that I am that Heavenly Father loves His children. He knows them, He blesses them, and He wants them to return Home. I know that my Savior lives, that he has suffered for me specifically and that I can use that to be strengthened. I know that this church is true, and I will never deny that or fall away. I love this gospel, and I will defend my God at all times and in all things and in all places. 

I love you all with everything that I have! I hope you have a week full of blessings. ya'll are great.

All my love,
Sister Holmes :)