Wk #68: LOVE one ANOTHER

Crepevine birthday dinner
Hello everybody!

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! It truly was the best birthday I have ever had. Heavenly Father spoiled me SO much! I literally got teary eyed multiple times because I was so happy... just like always, it was the BEST DAY OF THE YEAR!

This week was another one full of incredible miracles. The spirit is so strong on TCC and we have been blessed with so many incredibly prepared people!

Wednesday we had interviews with President Smith. Sister Evans and I agreed that interviews are like a holiday that happens multiple times a year! Those few minutes are so precious to me! I am eternally grateful for President Smith. He has had a profound influence on my life, and boy can I testify that I was called here partly for him! He is one of my greatest role models in this life. 

We had more amazing lessons this week with so many of our investigators! We saw Kaleel, Johnnie, Juliette, Alec, Christopher, Kimberly, Daniel, Willie, Berkley, Hunter and Curel and Derrick! All of those lessons were out of this world. How grateful I am to have the spirit as the teacher, because that produces MIRACLES! 

Curel and Derrick are getting SO excited for their baptism! They just glow every time they talk about it. They truly are some of the most incredible young men I have ever met. SUCH gentleman. One week from today they will be baptized members!!! HOW EXCITING! I just want it to be here already!

Berkley is also doing beyond great. She is so prepared, it blows my mind. She is getting super stoked for her baptism as well, and we are so excited to get to meet her boyfriend and family! Two weeks from today for her baptism!!!

We set another baptismal date with our investigator Hunter for the beginning of March! So, that was really exciting :) and he was extremely pumped about it! 

We got a few new AWESOME investigators this week as well! Seriously. Best week ever.

My birthday was so much fun! We had lessons EVERY HOUR OF THE DAY... AND THEY ALL CAME THROUGH!!!!!!!! That never happens!!! I saw all of my favorite people (not that I have favorites.....) and Sister Evans took me out to dinner at the Crepevine! I love that place. I recieved lots of letters and a few packages and it made my entire world. It was SUCH a happy day. Derek (our recent convert) drew me a picture of the Ogden Temple and gave it to me oun my birthday. It is phenomenal. One of the best gifts I have ever received! Plus, A ton of the people we work with somehow knew it was my birthday, so I got the sweetest phone calls too! I AM SO BLESSED!

We went on some more exchanges this week and laughed our little hearts out, and this morning we were able to help at a Mini MTC for the priests and laurels in the Tallahassee Stake! It was SO MUCH FUN. The MTC spirit was definitely there. It was such great experience! 

I know I say this so much, but I really am the happiest I have ever been. I finally feel like I know what I'm doing, my testimony is the strongest it has ever been, my desire and willingness to be obedient and diligent has reached a capacity I didn't know possible, and my love for this work has never been stronger. I'm so grateful I got to spend another birthday on the mission! God sent me hear to Earth 22 years ago this week to follow Him, and i'm so grateful I've been able to do that here in Florida.

To leave, I saw this on lds.org and LOVED it! 

A Primary kid shared with us this morning that "We can't do missionary work without being friends first." How true that statement is. The greatest commandment is to love one another as Jesus loves you! Try to show kindess in all that you do, be gentle and loving and deed and in thought. These are the things Jesus taught!

I challenge you to take the 14 day challenge to love one another! I am doing it right alongside you.

President Monson said, "We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if we do not love God, the Father of us all. The Apostle John tells us, “This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters. As we keep this truth in mind, loving all of God’s children will become easier. Actually, love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love...May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.

Beyond comprehension, my brothers and sisters, is the love of God for us. Because of this love, He sent His Son, who loved us enough to give His life for us, that we might have eternal life. As we come to understand this incomparable gift, our hearts will be filled with love for our Eternal Father, for our Savior, and for all mankind. That such may be so is my earnest prayer in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I love you all with everything that I am! 

Sister Holmes :) 

(picture- Crepevine birthday dinner!)

Birthday fun
Spoiled birthday girl!
Tired birthday girl!
Temple picture drawn by Derek, given to Lexa for her birthday
Throwback to a couple weeks ago
another random picture by the coach....
picture taken by one of the FAMU football coaches
One of the FAMU football coaches was feeling photogenic!

Wk #67: The Power of the Priesthood

Alexa and Sister Bushnell celebrating their 15 month mark!
You guys. I am being SO blessed right now. Sacrifice and obedience truly bring the blessings of heaven, and that is something I am forever grateful for! 

A few weeks ago President Smith challenged us to double our current efforts. I accepted without delay, and have been working on that ever since. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it, because we work so hard, but man. Miracles have been surrounding us ever since. I am grateful for an inspired mission president and wife!!!

Chick-Fil-A with Derek!
Derrick, Derek, Me, Derek and Darrick.... hahaha Only in the South!
We went to a world wide missionary training. You guys. IT WAS SO INTENSE! I learned SO much. I was on spiritual overload by the end of the two hours! We are definitely being prepared for battle! So many apostles and church leaders trained us. But one of my favorite things that was taught, and taught repeatedly, was that Faith is a principle of POWER and ACTION. 

We got a lot of really prepared investigators, but the high light of my week?
Remember Berkely, the golden referral that we got that had been studying Preach My Gospel? Yep. We set a Baptismal Date with her!!! AND her family and boyfriend will already be in town! She is getting baptized on February 13th, by her boyfriend that introduced her to the gospe! It was the most tender baptismal invitation I have ever experienced. The lesson was extremely powerful, and at the end, when we committed her, she started balling, and smiling, and laughing and gave us HUGE hugs and told us this was the best thing that has ever happened to her! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!!!! So we have three baptisms coming up here in the next few weeks! SUCH A HAPPY TIME OF LIFE!!

We have been able to teach so many incredible people this week!

Some other fun things of the week were:
We went to Chick-fil-a with our boy Derek! He is doing SO good. I just love him.
We blitzed TCC with two of our sisters. It was SO much fun! We love them so much. 
We went to sushi for lunch with someone from Sister Evans old area! And no, I did not eat the sushi.. terryaki chicken. :)
I hit 15 months! WHAT. 

Man. What a great life to be living. I truly am so happy, and so grateful, and so blessed. Thank you all for always loving me and supporting me! I feel your prayers EVERYDAY. 

To leave, Elder Andersen told each of us to keep the name of our Savior on our lips. Be ready to testify, to teach, to invite, and to thank. This is not just an invitation to missionaries, but an invitation to all members, worldwide. So, I challenge you to do the same. "“Wherever you are—in a bus, on the street, in a teaching situation, or in a home with a member, if you are ever unsure of what to say, speak of the Savior. Testify of Him. Speak of His doctrine, of faith in Him and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. This is your purpose. This is your charge.” 

I love this gospel. I testify of it's truthfulness. I testify that the Priesthood is real, and is very much so on this earth today. I had the opportunity to receive a Priesthood blessing, and I am truly grateful for worthy Priesthood holders to act as a mouthpiece for God. I testify that my Savior lives, and he loves, and he is with each one of us. 

I'm grateful to be a missionary, and I'm grateful to be a servant of the Lord. 


Sister Holmes :)

Wk #66: M I R A C L E week!

Happy Weekend!!!
First cockroach of the mission... in the apartment, that is!

It was bigger then a penny! Gross!
I can't believe this week is already over! Where in the world is the time going?! I swear yesterday was just Saturday, but here I am, typing my little heart out again.

This week my testimony and understanding of faith and fasting has increased ten fold. This month, I put much more focus and preparation into my fast and have expected miracles everyday. Not only have I expected miracles, I have worked so hard to show that I am truly seeking strength from a fast. If anything, I have come to know that when we put forth every ounce of energy and effort, hard, vigorous effort, with a pure purpose in heart and mind, miracles fill your life. 

Not one hour, yes HOUR, has gone by this week that I have not witnessed a miracle. A beautiful, personal gift from my sweet Heavenly Father. 

First miracle? I received the most tender letter in the world from the one and only Elder Holmes. Thanks buddy! You have NO idea how much that meant to me!

This week we found 8 new investigators, all of which are out of this world prepared for the restored gospel. We more than doubled our lesson goals, and have managed to accomplish every teeny tiny task that has needed to be done. I am utterly exhausted, yet filled with the most indescribable energy I have ever had. What a journey this is!!!

We have the most incredible group of investigators right now, and I think I say that every time, but it's always true! There are a few in particular that I want to share with you though.

Berkely- Berkely was a media referral that we received with not a lot of information. So we quickly contacted her, and set up an appointment. Come to find out, her boyfriend of 7 months is a member and a returned missionary! She was floored by the way he lived and his actions and had a strong desire to learn why he was the way he was. So, he introduced her to the church. Not knowing where to start studying, she went to her boyfriend who gave her a Preach My Gospel... YUP. This girl has been studying PMG and LOVES it. So, we are teaching her (which honestly is just an awesome gospel discussion because she stinkin knows everything!) and it has been such a neat experience! We are hoping to set a baptismal date with her this upcoming week! YAY FOR MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK!

Christopher- He is THE SWEETEST. He has the biggest smile and is such a tender guy. I have such a soft spot in my heart for him. He LOVED the restoration, and I thought his jaw was going to fall off when we told him he could keep the Book of Mormon! 

Hunter- He is so funny. Like SO funny.. in such a strange way! Very smart and has overcome A LOT. He absolutely loves what we share with him. We read 1 Nephi 1 at the end of our lesson and whoa. He got SO much out of it and told us that he was so excited to go and read more. 

an update on the others...

Curel and Derrick- Set a BCD for February 6th!!! We had a couple powerful lessons with them this week, and it has been SO cool to see them grow. Curel reads 2 or more chapters of the book of mormon EVERY NIGHT. He says it's addicting and he can't put it down. How awesome is that!? 

Johnnie- He is growing SO much. He is experiencing so many tender mercies and recognizes them all being from the gospel! 

We got in touch with a bunch of our less actives... finally.. and they are all pretty ready to come back. 

I can't even express how happy all these people make me! I really love that I get to have front row seats to watch the Atonement work in the lives of those around me. Nothing compares to it. 

This week I also cut two inches off of my hair! It was sad, but my hair was real sad looking so it had to happen. The cute sister that cut my hair was like "If you want my honest opinion... you probably need at the most, 5 inches cut off." Yep. That wasn't about to happen! So I settled for 2. First actual cut of the mission! It's about time! 

We had the privilege of watching the CES devotional this week, and whoa. It rocked my world. I felt like it was directed right at me. What a blessing it is to have the priesthood and their faithful wives leading this church under the direction of Jesus Christ! 

To end, I want to leave you with a part of the devotional that sent chills through my soul. 

"Now, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bless each one of you, as though I had my hands upon your heads, with the ability to become the True Millennial you were born to be. I bless you to have the desire and ability to learn your true identity and purpose, that you will expect and prepare to do “impossible” things, that you will be undaunted in your efforts to learn how to access the powers of heaven to help you solve your problems and answer your questions. And I bless you to follow the prophets with exactness, to feel peace in your heart as you do so. I bless you to know and feel how much the Lord loves you and how much confidence He has in you." -President Nelson

I am so grateful to be alive at this time of the world. Dark and scary it may be, but full of light our eyes will see. 


Sister Holmes


Wk #65: Tender Mercies up in HERE.

The Sister Pyramid
Campus District
Happy Saturday! 

I swear.. everyday is Saturday it feels like! They come so fast!

This week was FULL of tender mercies! 

Monday night Sister Evans and I were able to teach Hannah, and Tira skyped in from Utah! It was SO awesome. We are so grateful that we get to keep teaching her even though Tira isn't here anymore. Hannah is the prettiest, smartest young woman I have ever met. She blows me away every lesson we have with her!

We had some really awesome lessons with Derek this week doing Family History and helping him make a mormon.org profile. He wants to share his conversion story/testimony to anyone and everyone, so we thought that that would be the perfect place to start! He is doing extremely well. He's being hit with a lot of opposition, but he is staying SO strong. That kid also blows me away all the time. He is so excited to go to the temple and receive the Priesthood!

Johnnie is doing super great as well! He is progressing SO much, and he is willing to change his life to come closer to God. It's been really cool to watch him grow and gain a testimony. 

Wednesday was transfer day... Always a crazy day! Luckily, I AM STAYING HERE AT TCC! Huge blessing! I don't ever want to leave. We are doing transfers differently now, so we got to have the gorgeous Sister Bushnell with us for the day, and it was so much fun. It was also the first day of school, so there were SO many people on campus! I have never been so excited to OYM in my life! We met some incredible people, and a ton of prepared potentials! We were all in awe the entire day.

All of our investigators are back in town, and so we got to meet with Curel and Derrick, Kaleel, Melissa, and Willie!! All of them did so good over the break, and are still way solid.

So, one of the miracles this week, besides having SO many incredibly prepared potentials and teaching more lessons this week than we have the last three weeks combined is Juliette. 

We met Juliette on the first day of school. She was leaving class and we stopped to talk about the gospel to her, and found her extremely interested in learning more! When asking when we could meet up with her to share our message, she insisted we meet the next day. So, we of course jumped at the opportunity and set up an appointment. The next day, we meet her at the institute and begin teaching her the Restoration. I have NEVER taught a lesson like that! She was soaking up every little sentence we were saying, explaining it back to us, agreeing with everything being said, loving the scriptures we shared, and then during the First Vision, she was speechless. She was amazed at the fact that we have a prophet on the earth today, and asked us how she could learn more. At the end of the lesson, we asked her if she wanted to know for herself if these things are true and she said, "I already believe everything you have shared with me! This is amazing. I can't wait to share it with my mom!" She said the closing prayer (which was extremely powerful), said that she was going to come to church on sunday, and then asked if one day she would be able to serve a mission. haha WHAT. Sister Evans and I walked out of that lesson STUNNED! It was the coolest experience! We are praying that she continues to have that understanding and fire! 

So many miracles have been experienced this week, and so many tender mercies have filled our days. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have to experience these life changing moments everyday. 

I am especially grateful for the Book of Mormon. We have had the opportunity to begin reading it with Derek and Melissa (separately) and it has changed my whole week. For Derek, Sister Evans and I read a chapter together before we go to bed and discuss what stood out to us and then text it to Derek (he does the same), and with Melissa we read it over the phone with her. I have physically and spiritually seen the power that comes from the Book of Mormon the last few days. This week has been testing, and has been a little hard for me, but the strength I have received and the knowledge I have gained in this short time is impossible to describe. 

President Ezra Taft Benson said,
"I challenge all of us to prayerfully consider steps that we can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into our own lives and into a world that so desperately needs it... I have a vision of the whole Church getting nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of the Book of Mormon... Indeed, I have a vision of flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon."

There is no better challenge to accept than the one to use the Book of Mormon as the power against the adversary and the glue for happiness. 

He concludes by this testimony, and it's one that I second with my whole soul. 

"Moses never entered the promised land. Joseph Smith never saw Zion redeemed. Some of us may not live long enough to see the day when the Book of Mormon floods the earth and when the Lord lifts His condemnation. (See D&C 84:54–58.) But, God willing, I intend to spend all my remaining days in that glorious effort. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I too intend to spend all my days in the effort of changing the world through the Book of Mormon. 

I love you all SO much!

Sister Holmes


Wk #64: 2016 = The Year of Deeper Conversion

Hello my wonderful people :)

How truly grateful I am for the year 2015. As I said my final prayer for that year, the spirit touched my heart so deeply as I reflected on the very special privilege of being set apart as a full time missionary for every second of that year. The spirit was with me at every moment, every trial I went through taught me a valuable lesson, and every moment of joy (which was many) was because of the the gospel. I couldn't have asked for a better year, and I am forever grateful for it. 
I'm also grateful for the year 2016! A new year to serve, to love, and to grow. In the same prayer, the spirit very clearly told me that this year my life was going to change, and that I would be more deeply converted. What an incredible whispering of the spirit. Accomplishment or trial, rain or shine, I'm looking forward to the lessons Heavenly Father has in store for me and for the spirit to penetrate my heart. 

This week was definitely a good one, like they all were, but man! Did we have some good times!

On Saturday we went and played TENNIS! I can't even express how happy that made my heart. It felt SO GOOD to play. I just want to play all the time! But, I will limit myself... I was so proud of my strokes too! I've still got it ;)

We taught Johnnie this week which was super good. He is really progressing, and I am SO proud of him! We also taught Derek, and man. That kid is incredible. He is growing SO much and is becoming more and more converted. He has changed my life. What a prepared young man. I wish the whole world could meet him!!! One of his new years goals is to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon everyday this year, so we are doing it with him. yay!!!

Wednesday we went throughout the mission to do splits with some companionships since there is NO ONE on campus. We wanted to use our time most effectively, so we packed up our car and hit the road. One of our stops was in good ole CALLAWAY, FL. Guys. there is NO place like HOME! I was SO happy to be driving those streets! When we got with the sisters, they said "Sister Holmes, we were NOT going to let your time here go to waste." I wasn't expecting to see anyone I had taught because we were only going to be there for a few hours, and we were going to teach as much as we could, but they surprised me with a family history lesson with ARCHIE AND KAREN!!! So, Sister Rindlisbacher and I headed out to the Family History Center and got our camera's propped to surprise them because they had NO idea I was going to be there. Talk about one of the sweetest, most tender moments of my life! Karen instantly sobbed! Through her tears and tight hug she expressed how much she loved me and how good I looked. Archie was in disbelief and just giggled the whole time. It brought me to tears! I was SO excited! What a gift! :)

We saw some beautiful parts of the mission full of beautiful sisters. I am SO grateful that I get to work with so many of them! I learn something from every single one of them. I'm surrounded by incredible teachers and examples.

For New Years Eve we got together with the sisters in our district and brought it in at 10! haha we had lots of fun, and had lots of fun adventure doing it. I also brought in the new year on a Tongan's shoulders, so that was an experience! haha We said a prayer as sisters to end the year off right, and then Sister Evans and I had some sparkling cider :)

New Years Day we had lunch with the Knudsen's which was delicious as always, and had a really good talk with them. Later that evening the Dalley's cooked us all an amazing Ham/Turkey dinner! All of our district was there, as well as a few members that were here by themselves and Derek and Johnnie :) It was SO much fun! 

Then today we had a last minute MLC, so we got to see all of our wonderful missionary best friends and get ready for transfers! Which I cannot believe are this week!!!

All in all, it was a great week, and I am SO excited for this year! 
I hope you each have set goals to help you grow and strengthen your testimony. If not, I encourage you to prayerfully think about it! Nothing helps you grow more than effective goals, and the experiences that come when accomplishing them :)

President Monson once said, 

"1. Study diligently.
 2. Pray earnestly.
 3. Serve willingly."

"A study of the scriptures will help our testimonies and the testimonies of our family members...Your talents will expand as you study and learn. You will be able to better assist your families in their learning, and you will have peace of mind in knowing that you have prepared yourself for the eventualities that you may encounter in life.

The second goal I wish to mention: Pray earnestly. The Lord directed, “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing.” Prayer is a defense against temptation. It is through earnest and heartfelt prayer that we can receive the needed blessings and the support required to make our way in this sometimes difficult and challenging journey we call mortality.

Finally, serve willingly. You are a mighty force for good, one of the most powerful in the entire world. Your influence ranges far beyond yourself and your home and touches others all around the globe... You are, of course, surrounded by opportunities for service...I extol you who, with loving care and compassionate concern, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and house the homeless. He who notes the sparrow’s fall will not be unmindful of such service. The desire to lift, the willingness to help, and the graciousness to give come from a heart filled with love. Serve willingly...

May our Heavenly Father bless each of you, married or single, in your homes, in your families, in your very lives—that you may merit the glorious salutation of the Savior of the World: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” I pray...in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."


Love you all!!

Sister Holmes
Love in Callaway with Karen, Archie and Sister Rindlisbacher
Love Them Forever.... Karen and Archie
New Year's Selfie
District Sisters
Bringing in the 'Sparkling' New Year
A little TLC!