Monday, 22 May 2017

There is Sunshine in My Soul!

It has been another simply fantastic week here in Cerritos! We have kept very busy, as usual. This week it got to about 95 degrees on Saturday, so that was awesome! I love the sun and the heat.

On Tuesday we got to have a lesson with a lady named Fransuaz. When we started off she was a little on edge, kinda challenging me, haha. But you could literally see her heart soften as the lesson went on! It was so wonderful to watch. She was very impressed with simply the example we and members of our congregation set; that we live what we preach. It really does matter what you do, it marks you as a disciple of Christ! She seems to have a great desire to know for herself. One thing she had the most questions about was, how did we come to know it was true? I love having the opportunity to share my testimony of how I came to know this church was true! One thing I thought about afterwards was that if I had, in the beginning, fought fire with fire when she had challenged my beliefs in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, it definitely wouldn't have gone so well. As soon as contention enters the picture the Spirit leaves, I know I can't do this or anything without the Spirit so I am going to do my very best to make sure it's always with me, no matter what! I've noticed that with companions too, and hey family when I was at home! The end result will never be pretty if we allow Satan to take control over our emotions. The best part is that God is good! He wants to help us and we can rely on Him when our strength is insufficient! Sister Biberston and I have taken to making having the Spirit our first priority. If we are frustrated with something we take the time to say a prayer or read a scripture, or sing a hymn, to invite that Spirit back. It is so important! We can literally do nothing without it! Especially in missionary work!

(Don't worry Sister Biberston and I are never the source of each other's frustrations, if anything we have too much fun so we need to invite the spirit back lol)

We also had a lesson with Salai and we set a soft baptismal date with her. She was a little hesitant to join our church, she kept saying she wanted to take parts from a bunch of churches and make her own perfect church, (ironic huh?) So we asked her what is was about our church that she didn't like... she said nothing hahaha It was great. We discussed the Book of Mormon a bit more and came to the conclusion all she really needed was a testimony of the Book of Mormon  (which is literally always the answer) and so she said she really wanted to know so she would read it and pray about it, yay!

Later that evening, we met with Jeremy. We taught him the word of wisdom and he really wants to be able to do it! So we set some goals and made some plans with him, he is doing really well already! I think he is progressing well to his baptismal date on June 10th, I am so excite for him. He also came to the basketball night we have on Friday nights and church on Sunday :)

Aaaand we found a new investigator! We found Marcello when we were looking for a different former investigator that had moved... it was a nice surprise!

Wednesday, we had a lesson with Monique, Alexis Fox came (a recent convert) and she was able to bear her testimony of how she came to know the Book of Mormon was true. It was a good lesson!

After we had a lesson with Alyssa, her brother Justin just got baptized last September and she is interested in being baptized as well! We taught her the whole first lesson in the church as it was very powerful. She accepted a baptismal date for June 3rd :)

Later we found another investigator, Quiana, when she texted us and asked if we could help out with getting a letter of recommendation for government housing. We met her at the church in the evening and gave her a tour while the bishop whipped up a letter! It was really great, especially when we were in the chapel because one of the organists happened to be there practicing so it was nice!

Thursday we talked more with Edward about his baptism... it should be this Saturday but he is an eternagator and has a tendency to back out last minute... but I think this is really it!

Later, we had a good lesson with Frank, our Jehovah's Witness... he has kept asking us over and over to give him proof discrediting that God is Jehovah and the 144,000.... so we very swiftly resolved those issues and another miracle! His heart was softened :) It was great to watch. He said he was just going to give us back our book and say don't come back but then he listened. It was great!

Friday we saw more miracles (of course)! We found 3 new investigators, 2 of them within the first 30 minutes we were proselyting! Calvin, Ariana, and Santiago.

We also had dinner with a less-active member and he has the cutest pitbull puppies!!! So of course I took pictures!

Saturday Edward and Alyssa attended a baptismal service with us! It was really great, I think it helped Edward.

Sunday, we tried our best to help a less-active member with family history. It was rough though since neither of us have ever done any family history.... But I'm doing some research today so we can help more next time!

Also this morning we had no money so we hand washed all our clothes. Definitely a learning experience!

Church is True!

Sister Holt

and goodbye pics from last week

Monday, 15 May 2017

Lakewood 4th Ward


It's been another busy, crazy, beautiful week in the California, Long Beach mission! I love this area and I love Sister Biberston! She is just so cute and I am so lucky to be able to be a part of her training! I am humbled to think of the trust Heavenly Father gives to missionaries but also trainers, I hope I don't mess this one up haha....

On Monday last week we just mostly said some goodbyes.... but I forgot my camera so no pics of that this week.... sorry! But Brother Stoughton got us InNout!! It was so yummy!

Tuesday I made the switch over, I said goodbye to Sister Sherksnas... BUT I'm just so stoked she will be with Sister Rhoton! I miss the Beach area but there is just so much to do here that there isn't time to think about it! I love how busy we are. When I got here on Tuesday we were splitting the ward with some Elders but half-way through the day we got a call from them saying that they were being transferred out... so now we are basically white-washing half of the area because I just got here and Sister Biberston has only been here for 6 weeks... But it has been fun! We are seeing lots of miracles and we know more are coming!

On Wednesday, we had District Meeting; there are only 3 companionships in the District... and there was literally twice that many in my last District, but they're all pretty cool. My District Leader, Elder Matthews, served in Atherton with Sister Kwon and I, so it's nice to see him. Later, we met with Edward and man, I just love this guy. He is just so sweet and sincere! He has learned everything but is reluctant to be baptized because he doesn't want to be alone in heaven and he doesn't think his family will join. We read 2 Nephi 31* with him (by the way probably my favourite chapter for missionary work, it gets stuff DONE) and discussed the path God wants him to be on. He agreed that there really is no other way than baptism! We are super stoked for him to be baptized on May 27th! I also met a couple other investigators; Monique, Christina, Javier and Claudia. Javier ad Claudia are a sweet married couple with kids. We were able to have a great spirit filled lesson with them, again using 2 Nephi 31. We also committed them to be baptized! They really want to attend church but Javier works every Sunday, BUT he is getting a new schedule soon so we are praying that he will have Sundays off! They are so sweet! When we first extended the baptismal invitation, they said they were already baptized in the Catholic Church when they were babies, but as soon as we talked about the authority and restoration, read a couple verses in Acts and Javier said, well then I guess we should get baptized again. It was so cool!

Thursday we met with an investigator named Jeremy. He has been struggling with being able to concentrate while reading the scriptures; since I have ample experience having a hard time with that particular issue, I was able to testify to him the importance of asking God for help; not just in life or death situations, but always. We cannot do anything on our own, and we aren't expected to. He loves us and wants to help us through anything and everything! I remember when I got to the MTC that was something I struggled with, just concentrating in those little classrooms with a room full of loud Elders. I was so frustrated with myself! I thought that since I was set apart to be a full-time missionary I should never have any problems! Why was I letting something so silly interfere with my work and study? How could I be so weak? With much love from Sister Rhoton and my Heavenly Father, I was able to overcome those challenges and feelings. Just like how there is no such thing as stupid questions, there is no such thing as stupid prayers! God wants to hear it all. Even if it seems silly like, help me concentrate, or help me eat healthy, he is there for it all.

Friday we had ward correlation, just us, one ward missionary and Brother Thompson, our ward mission leader, but it was good. We also had an investigator come to the weekly basketball night at the church! It was really great to see Christina interacting with other missionaries, recent converts and investigators!

Saturday, we saw Edward again and we talked about the Priesthood. He is still looking forward to his baptism and so are we! He's just the kinda guy that doesn't only read the scriptures but he ponders them! Both times we've met he has had an insight to share with us from his personal study, I love it! Reading the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon is soooooo KEY in conversion, dare I say the most important aspect. I'm pretty sure that in PMG it says something like the Book of Mormon with the spirit is your most important tool in teaching the restored Gospel.... or something haha, but it's so TRUE!

Later got to meet with Christina. She has a lot of questions, we told her that they can be answered through diligent personal study in the Book of Mormon and she accepted that and is reading but I thought a good video for her to watch would be Tad R. Callister's devotional "the blueprint of Christ's Church." Oh man it is so good! She didn't say much about it, but we will ask more follow-up questions next time. Then in the evening, we saw Rueben and testified to him of the importance of the Book of Mormon. Basically, that is what this week has been; just using the Book of Mormon A LOT. I think people, and missionaries overlook it so much, and it's a shame because in my personal experience, I have seen A LOT more progress made when the Book of Mormon is involved.

We also found 2 investigators this week! Van and Maddie. We found Van as we were contacting a referral, they didn't live there apparently, but Van did! We taught him a little about where we came from why we are here and where we are going and how the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes finding those answers possible. He seemed pretty interested, we lost him a little bit when he asked how this would affect his Catholic religion... but he said he would read the pamphlet in preparation for us to come back and teach him more about it! Maddie was in our former investigator book and we had planned to stop by her after church but then her friend from school asked if we could see his friend... and it was Maddie! It was fate (also God)! He told us about her and we went to see her and he will be coming to the lesson we have planned with her this week! It was really cool, God really is a God of miracles!

I also got to call home so I guess that was pretty okay... just kidding. I miss my family so much and it's weird to see them all grown up. I love them so much it hurts sometimes. I can't help thinking that I get to keep them forever, and that is why I keep fighting for people's salvation here in SoCal. I know how much it means to me that I get to keep my family forever, and if I can help make that happen for even one other person, I'll do it til they kick me out!

The church is true!!

Sister Holt

*2 Nephi 31

Sister Biberston and Sister Holt

Sisters with Christina

the district

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


Hey All!

We got transfer calls last night and......................... I'll be going to the Cerritos Stake to the Lakewood Ward! I will be finishing training Sister Biberston, she has already been out for 6 weeks. Sister Sherksnas's new comp is going to be Sister Rhoton, my MTC companion!!!!

It has been such a blessing and a privilege to serve in the Beach ward! I have absolutely loved it- it's definitely the promised land! It has also been a very humbling and joyful experience to have trained Sister Sherksnas. 

On Monday, we went to this super hipster burger place called bunz that's right next to a Vans skatepark, it was sooo good!

Tuesday, we saw Araceli and set a baptismal date with her! She says she thinks that what we are teaching is true, she is concerned about the fact that she has been raised Catholic and her whole family is, so we asked her to pray to know what God wanted her to do. We did some service for an investigator named Shirley, she's an older lady who can't get around too well anymore. She hasn't been able to even put sheets on her bed for months so we went over and helped with that stuff...

Wednesday, we had an amazing training from Elder Oniki, one of our Zone Leaders, about daily planning, and how it should be guided by the spirit more. We tried that out and saw miracles!!! Just later that day, we were trying to see an investigator that we hadn't been able to catch for a while. She wasn't home, but we saw this girl walking home from school and we followed her (in a not creepy way). As we did this we saw 2 ladies sitting on their porch and Sister Sherksnas felt prompted to go and see them first, before we went to see the girl. We started talking to the ladies about how families can be together forever; that we don't believe that death has to part families. Wendy, one of the women, said that she was just talking about that with her fiancée, about what happens to their marriage after they die, it was perfect! God is so good!

We also saw Alisa that day and we set a baptismal date with her! She has been trying to figure out for a while if this was true, she knew it made her feel good, but there was something keeping her back... after attending church last week she felt confident to make the next step! We are so happy for her!

That night, we had one of our last lessons with Gabriel, because he is moving to Oregon for a couple months to be with his kids... we are sad to see him go but he hasn't seen his babies for over 7 months so we are happy for him.

On Thursday, we had a lesson with Johnny and his wife joined and we committed both of them to read the Book of Mormon, Rosario said it is hard for her in English so we got her a Spanish copy. I am so grateful for all the resources the Church offers for every person to learn about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! That evening, we also met with Andy, a less-active member, and her husband, Chino, joined in. Chino is not a member, but he is a Christian. He is the nicest, coolest guy and he seems to have a real desire to know if the Book of Mormon is true. This family has so much potential, I am excited for them!

Friday, we had a talk with Sister Demol, Mandy and Kerry. It seems Mandy and Kerry's stepdad is not too thrilled with them being baptized all of a sudden.... We will see how the next few weeks go...

Saturday, we had another miracle in finding Chuck, a new investigator! We were on our way to another person’s house and I got distracted and turned too soon... well it was a super blessing in disguise because we found ourselves in the neighbourhood where we had met a guy the week before named Domingo. So we decided to see if he was home, he wasn't, but his roommate Chuck was! We had the opportunity to answer some of his questions concerning the Plan of Salvation, he took a pamphlet and said he would read it and we could come back and talk more about it with him next week.

Also the Phillips made us poutine for dinner!!! yay!!!! it was super yummy. They even got cheese curds!

On Sunday we had another lesson with our good friend Hamilton. He had a lot of questions for us, mostly they were about what we thought about doctrine, etc. We were able to testify to him that they best way he can have his questions answered is by reading the Book of Mormon! 

Later, we had our last lesson with Gabriel :( He leaves Tuesday morning, but we found where his ward is and got his info for our ward mission leader so he can stay in touch with him and help him figure things out!

The church is true! I know it is with all of my heart, soul, and mind. I am so glad I have been called to serve here in the California Long Beach mission, to tell anyone and everyone that Jesus is the Christ! He is the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Saviour, and my brother. I love him and I will labour unceasingly to serve him, and my Heavenly Father.

Sister Holt

ps we also spent about an hour one night trying to get this kitten out of a less-active member’s car! It was definitely an experience, but we got him! Now we have to find him a home!

Saturday, 6 May 2017


Another beautiful week in the Beach ward! Transfers are next week, so I'm not sure how long it will last...... So obviously I've got to make the most of the time I have left!

Last Monday, we got to do another FHE with the Mata family. We are going through the Christ-like attributes with them, week by week. It's going really well so far :) Recently I have started to realize the importance of family home evening. When we make our homes and our family times a sacred refuge from this crazy world we live in, we are so much stronger! It provides a spiritual suit of armor. 

On Tuesday we saw Araceli, she didn't have a lot of time, but we shared the Prince of Peace video with her and she loved it! She said she was going to play other Mormon messages as she works in her home with her grandbabies during the day. I'm so grateful for all the resources the church provides to carry forth the Gospel and to bring light to people’s lives.

Mirian came out teaching with us this week! She is seriously going to be the best little missionary ever! We were going to take her to an appointment with Alisa, but that fell through so we took her to our backups and it was great! We were able to bring Alfred a Book of Mormon and follow-up on a referral we had received. She had a lot of fun going around with us, meeting new people and talking about missionary work. I have been so happy to see the blessings that come from teaching with members and even just by having them out with you! Go out with the missionaries guys! It's a really good time, and nothing helps the work more (except for super solid referrals of course but those are harder to come by!)

Tuesday evening we met with a family whose dad has been less-active for a very long time. We got to teach the Restoration to his wife and daughter, Carmen and Allie. His, (Lincoln's) older daughter wasn't there but we set up a time to come back this week, actually this evening, so that she can be involved too! The spirit was really strong, they said they would read the Book of Mormon as a family and pray together to know if it is true..... so we will see what happens when we go back! We also found another new investigator that evening named Mary; she was a referral from our Bishop's family! They were super helpful in giving us about 4 referrals actually! And they all seem pretty promising, so we will try the other ones again soon!

On Thursday we saw Johnny, taught him the restoration and picked him up as a new investigator... needless to say we will be doing a lot of following up this week!

Saturday we got to do a community service project! It was stake wide, so also zone wide... it was a lot of fun! At first we were going to paint picnic tables but when we got there it was already done... so we got to spread new sand around a playground! It was good hard work in the sun! It got to 92 degrees that day! Later, we had a lesson with a man named Hamilton. He has very strong belief faith, and conviction of Christ. He had lots of questions and shared with us some of his beliefs. It was definitely a "religious discussion" but the spirit was there the entire time, which was a blessing. We shared experiences of learning truth from the Book of Mormon and invited him to read it, he said he would if we would read Romans and Ephesians. We said we would be happy to! I love the New Testament, not a problem! He really has a lot of potential and I just pray he will allow his heart to be softened so he can progress to be all that God can make of him!

That evening, we got to teach the Bishop's family the Restoration. Something our ward is wanting to start doing is teaching the first lesson with members so they can feel the spirit of the work. There is a reason we share the first lesson first; it's inspiring! We want to help the members feel that inspiration so they can reach out to those they love and share this great message!

Sunday was great! We had 4 investigators at church! Yay!!! Mandy, Kerry, Meghan, and Alisa were all able to come. I love seeing how willing the youth are to seek for truth and make changes that bring them in closer harmony to their Savior! No wonder the Brethren of the church are putting an emphasis on working with youth! Later, we also got to meet with Laura and Leileen. They are so, so sweet. Leileen is only 9 and it can be hard for her to concentrate, but her mom really wants her to develop a foundation in Christ; we've just gotta take it a little slow, which is fine.

Gabe is struggling a bit right now, things are getting tense at home with Maria. He will be moving back to Portland on the 9th... It's so frustrating when people come to you with a problem, you tell them what they need to do to fix it and they don't believe you! It reminds me of the story of Naaman. He didn't want the easy way, he was looking for a huge, life-changing answer where there wasn't one. Often we are the same way. We want to know the "big secret" to happiness, but it is simple. Read the scriptures, pray, attend church. Literally if we do those things, we will always be okay. It's so simple!!!

I am so glad we have been given the things necessary to receive our Salvation and Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father, all we need to do it take advantage of it all! I heard a good quote this Sunday from Brother Dulgarian, "If it's not eternal, forget about it!"

The church is true!!

Sister Holt