Monday, 17 July 2017

You Win Some, You Lose Some 2.0

Hello! 

A little bit of a slower week this week, I mean we were very busy because we always have backups, but we didn't get to teach a lot of lesson because of cancellations...

Some highlights from his week were a lesson about faith with a less-active member named Vaiola. I love teaching her. She is just so great and eager to learn more, to grow in the gospel and to keep commitments because she knows how much it blesses her.... now if only we could get some of our investigators to feel that way hahah We also had a lesson with Jeremy and Glenn, a member in our ward named Amanda came with us, it went really well! Glenn was actually going to go and do something else, but he came out and joined instead, which is a really big step for him! He's a sweet kid, and Jeremy is doing a ton better! He is ready to get the ball rolling again! :)

Wednesday was pretty busy... We had lessons with Calvin, Dice, Jeremy, Vaiola, Sister Ceja (less-active member), and Scott (less-active member). We also got to teach the Preach my Gospel class again to the Priests in the ward, they are doing so well! We practiced teaching 4 minute restoration lessons with them, it also gave us the chance to practice, which was nice.

Thursday we had zone conference! Oh man, it was amazing as usual. We learned about finding, especially having an "urgency" to find.  It's funny that that wasn't really something we were struggling with, until last week haha I'm sure it will pick up again this week though! Something was reminded of is that there is a never-ending supply of people who need to hear the gospel and are ready to receive it, especially here in southern California! i have never seen so many people in my life! God is always preparing people, we just need to find them, and that tales work! We can't just wait for them to fall into our laps, we have to seek! So, I am going to try to be better at "seeking." :)

After zone conference, we were all jazzed up on the spirit and we went to a lesson with Liz Zamarrepa; it was so good! We re-established our purpose, taught a short but very powerful restoration to both her and her sister who was visiting, and set a baptismal date! It was so awesome.

Friday we had a few really good lessons as well. Ee met with Rosemary, taught the plan of salvation with Amanda again. Amanda is a recently returned missionary so she's basically the best ever to have in lessons! Especially since they were both the first 2 times Sister Nicol has taken the lead with the plan of salvation so Amanda was a good comfort and help to her I think.

In the afternoon, we taught Demel the plan of salvation with Justin Ibarra, and later we taught the restoration to a wonderful new investigator named Julie with her fellowshiper, Sister Huebner. Both those lessons went really well! Julie's lesson was especially sweet. When we invited her to read the Book of Mormon she said reading was hard for her... she said, " I have something called ADD, I don't know if you've heard of it."  I just thought, uh yeah... I've heard of it a time or two hahaha.. This is funny because I have ADD for those of you who don't know... So I was able to share how I was able to overcome the challenges I have faced concerning my learning... impairment? (I feel like it's weird to call it a disability...) through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It really does cover, heal and prevent any and all imperfections. Anything that might possible keep us from perfection can and will and has been overcome by our Saviour. We gave her just a short passage to read and focus on how she felt as she read it. I am really excited to meet with her again.

This was just such an example to me of how "weak things become strong." Never did I ever think that my "weakness" of having attention deficit disorder would ever become helpful and even comforting to anyone. I can remember that she just kept saying, "I am so glad I have finally found someone that understands!" God is good and his plan is perfect!

Saturday was pretty much a bust. We had about 6 lessons planed and we taught... 2. We were also supposed to have Edward's baptismal interview and... he didn't show up again. BUT we did get to go to a baptism with Alyssa and Justin Ibarra, so that was really great, especially since the person being baptized was in a very similar situation to Alyssa. 

One of the lessons we had was with a less-active mom and daughter, the Shoemakes. They were very sweet and we got to teach a very powerful, short restoration lesson. They explained that their testimonies were very much alive, they had just been offended years ago... We told them that we don't care if they come to sacrament meeting, leave right after and never talk to anyone the whole time; we were there to help them reclaim the blessings they have lost by taking the sacrament. As I was testifying to them about the sacredness of the sacrament and the importance of my covenants, I was overcome with the strength of a testimony I didn't know I had! More than perhaps anything, I have learned the importance of the covenants we make as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have gained.

Sunday we had about 3 or 4 people that we were positive would be coming to church, they told us right to our faces not 24 hours before.... and no one came. It was disappointing, but not as bad as last week... I felt confident that I had done all that I could. No matter how good a teacher or inviter I become, I will never be able to MAKE someone do something they are not willing to do.

After church we saw Jose, a new investigator, and talked to him about how the gospel blesses and strengthens our families. He didn't have long though, so we set a return appointment and we will plan to prepare short, powerful lessons for him to better work with his schedule. Later we saw a former investigator named Riley, she is 11 and very cute. She wants to start learning again and we are very excited to see her!

It's funny how on your mission, in a period of 24 hours you can have both the worst and the best day of your mission.

The Church is true!

Love, Sister Holt

Sorry, no pics this week!

Well - Christina sent no pics but a couple were posted on Facebook





Monday, 10 July 2017

Busted!

I bet you're getting tired of me saying another great week in SoCal but... Another great week in SoCal!!!! It's been hot and sunny every day, about 92 on average.... so I can't complain!

Last Monday we had an awesome zone activity in the park. We had hot dogs and hamburgers and we played sand volleyball... but of course I forgot to take pictures until the very end.... But it was so fun :)

After Pday, we had a lesson with Liz and her boys, her daughter Crystal and her husband Alfred were even there! It was great. After that we went to go and see a former investigator named Salai that we still stop by. She loves missionaries and she likes a lot about our religion but she is still searching and she wanted a break to do it on her own... but we still go by and see her every few weeks so that when she is ready, we will be there!

Tuesday we had a lesson with a woman named Rosemary first thing in the morning. she is an older widow, her dad was LDS but she had some negative experiences with the Church at a young age. We offered to share a message about the plan our Heavenly Father has made for us, she accepted! It breaks my heart when people ruin others' experiences with the church. We hope we can help her see that we believe in strengthening families, not tearing them apart.

After that we had a wonderful lesson with Demel. He hadn't read the Book of Mormon so we read the introduction with him, Justin Ibarra came with us, he is so great! He is going to be an amazing misisonary! Justin was baptized just last October and he was able to share his testimony of how he came to know the Book of Mormon was true and how because of that he knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is Christ's church! It was amazing to watch the change that came upon Demel. He promised to read and we will be returning with Justin this week!

Tuesday was also the 4th of July! We didn't have any dinner plans and I felt bad that Sister Nicol's first Holiday away form home would be so boring, so we went to IN-N- Out (even thought it's got yucky fries haha), so that made her happy! But then just after dinner we went to see a less-active family, Vaiola's family, and they invited us to join their dinner and some of their neighbour's even had fireworks. It was really such a huge blessing!!! I could tell that Sister Nicol really needed it, God certainly does work in mysterious ways!

Wednesday we had a lesson with Calvin, a less-active member named Scott and we found 2 new investigators; Karen and Kelvin, her son! They are very sweet and have met with missionaries before. We also found another investigator named Al. We had been seeing some potentials in one of our areas and Sister Nicol felt impressed to knock on one of the neighbour's doors. Just as we were about to do this, I noticed the other neighbour, who turned out to be Al! He is really awesome, has a strong faith in Christ and is open to learning more. We knocked the other door after and they were not interested but I know that if we hadn't stopped to look around because of Sister Nicol's prompting, we would not have found Al. God is good!

On Thursday we had another lesson with Calvin, we saw Jeremy, which is really good! he hasn't been doing so well for the last week or so, but he is doing a lot better now! Seeing him happy makes me so, so happy! I can't help but grin every time I see him. Later in the evening we saw Dice, we talked to him more about baptism and confirmation and the qualifications for it and the covenants we make, it was really great!

Friday we had another new missionary training! It was wonderful, as always! So glad to get reminders of the basics! Later that evening we had basketball and Edward, his son Eddie, Glenn, Jeremy, Alyssa, and Justin came! It was really great, especially to have Eddie there since he is not really an investigator right now, we are hoping we can get to know him a little better and maybe he can start coming to church with his dad.

Saturday was CRAZY! First off, we had a lesson with Oscar, Justin came with us. It was very... interesting. It was pretty clear about halfway through that we was not interested in being taught but in teaching us... so we moved on! After that we had a lesson with Edward, going over the baptismal interview questions, Justin was there for that as well! After lunch and studies and stuff, we had a lesson with Mattie, and Ethan Vaughn was there for that. The spirit was really strong in that lesson and I had the opportunity of experiencing giving a strong promise from our Heavenly Father as one of His representatives, it was awesome!  I think she is getting closer and closer to baptism! After dinner we had a lesson with  a sweet older lady named Mollie, we taught her the restoration, Sister Nicol took the lead and she did a really good job!

After Mollie we had another lesson with a guy we found last week named Jesse. Jesse has tattoos that cover both his arms , one of his legs, and that go all the way up to his jaw-line on his neck, but man does he have faith in Jesus Christ. We can never know who will or will not be interested in receiving our message, it is just not our call to make! I'm glad I didn't listen to what I thought when we approached Jesse for the first time, but that I listened to the Spirit. 

That being said though, he was drinking with his friend outside when we went to teach him on Saturday haha. We decided to try and teach him a 4 minute restoration but about half-way through the cops pulled up behind us! hahahah I think Sister Nicol just about peed herself. The cop was very nice and just asked Jesse and his friend that was with us, Isaac, to go inside to enjoy their beverages. So we said bye to Jesse, but we will be seeing him again!

Right before we went home, we stopped by Dice to remind him about church the next day, we told him we were meeting with someone who was struggling to accept the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He said, "Well, tell him to read it! It will blow his mind!" All I could think of was, you're telling me, Dice! Satan knows the power of the Book of Mormon, and he is good at his job.... so no one wants to read the Book! I know, just like Dice, that if we have a question or doubt about the gospel, it can be quickly and thoroughly resolved through acquiring a testimony of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. 

Sunday was a sad day. Despite our many efforts, we were unable to help anyone get to church. I was pretty discouraged actually. I thought for sure this week. We had put so much time and effort into each person we were hoping would make it. I was very glad for the sacrament and the part it played in giving me comfort from my Heavenly Father that day. I was still pretty down until we stopped by Jeremy! He wasn't able to make it to church today because he is still recovering from his hardships last week, but he took us out to see some of his neighbours to talk about the Gospel! He is also going to be coming to a lesson with us this evening! Seeing people like Jeremy always brightens my spirit! It was definitely a good way to end my day, and week!

Well, I love you all dearly!!!

The Church is true,
Sister Holt












Monday, 3 July 2017

Brother Edwards

Another sun filled week in Southern California!
Last Monday we met with an investigator that used to meet with the Elders in this area named Rosa, she is very sweet! She loves scouting and is always busy being involved with that so week can’t meet with her too often but she wants to learn more! She has a very strong testimony! After that we were able to do some service with one of our investigators named Liz. We got to help her assemble some homeless kits for the community!
Tuesday we had a lesson with Dice, found out his real name is Sisifo Laupua, we told him we liked it but he still wants us to call him Dice haha. We invited a member named Justin Altier to the lesson with us and he really liked having him there! Today we will be having a family home evening with Justin and his family with Dice and another investigator named Edward! That evening we also had a really good lesson with a less-active member named Phil Shanks. We were able to talk to him more about covenants and repentance, the spirit was really strong. It's always so hard to see people with a desire to change but have a hard time doing it because of a certain stumbling block. It has been a blessing to be able to help people overcome those stumbling blocks. From where I'm standing, the hurdle they have to jump seems so small, I know they can do it! And I never hesitate to tell them that. The world wants us to think we cannot overcome out weaknesses and trials, we can never let the world win that battle! We must maintain that "perfect brightness of hope" and encourage and lift others so they can do the same. We also found anew investigator named Derek through a street contact.
On Wednesday we met with Monique and we set a baptismal date with her! Unfortunately it is for September 4th because she feels she needs to know a lot more. We encouraged her that when we finished teaching her the 5 lessons we have to share with her, she would feel ready :) Wednesday night we also got to teach a Preach My Gospel class to the Priests to help them prepare for their missions. They are such good boys and they will be awesome missionaries one day!
Thursday we saw Dice again! After we went to go see sister Ceja to teach her more about the temple so she can prepare to receive her endowment and be sealed to her husband and children! It was a really good lesson; her daughter Alexandra was there ad she was really cute reading the pamphlet with us!
We went to see Jeremy and he is struggling a little bit, which breaks my heart. We did our best to encourage him and to show o​ur love. He really is such a wonderful guy and he has so, so much potential in the Kingdom of God! We also got to meet with his brother Glenn and set a baptismal date with him! He has had a desire to be baptized for a little while but was not willing to make it a priority... we are hoping that now that he sees Jeremy he will feel more of that desire!
You will never guess who we met with on Friday... EDWARD! He has been AWOL for about a month but he came back kickin'! We were talking with him in the park when a guy walked by, sat down next to us and asked if he could join the lesson. He turned out to be a member that had been in our ward 4 years prior and he really helped Edward out! He was just really good at asking Edward questions and he had experiences that Edward needed to hear! It was a serious miracle! God is so good! After Brother Edwards (that was his name) left, we asked Edward when HE thought he would be ready for baptism... he said 3 weeks!!! We are so excited for him!!!

Saturday was CRAZY busy!!! We started off the day with a lesson with Darryl and a lesson with Calvin, later we had a lesson with Mattie and then in the evening, we had a lesson with Brother Shanks. Before we went to see Brother Shanks we were stopping by a potential and we met a man named Jesse. The first thing Jesse asked us was if we were Jehovah's witnesses. We told him no, we were Mormons. He said OH! The Mormons! I love your fellowship and your congregations are strong, but I'm not on board with the whole Brigham young polygamy thing....hahahaha oh gosh... We explained to him that we no longer practice polygamy and he said, hmm okay then tell me a bit more. We are very excited to teach him, it will definitely be interesting, he has a lot of misconceptions about us... But we are up for the challenge as always!
Sunday we had Calvin come to church! No Dice again... so that means we will have to discuss his baptismal date again.... He believes everything so strongly, I have never heard such a solid testimony of the Gospel from someone so novice to it! We just have to help him develop the faith to make sacrifices to live the Gospel he loves so much...
Canada day was great! Less fun than at home hahah but way more rewarding :) Mattie had a Canadian flag up for me so that was nice and I took some Canada Day pics ;)
Today our zone is having an Independence Day BBQ at the park!!! I am super excited :)
I love you all dearly!

Sister Holt

O Canada - my home and native land!

Lunch with Brother Shanks

With Justin and Dice

Ice cream in the park

Dice