Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 78: This is it! The Final letter & Katie's testimony

Hola a todos!

Well, this is it. I've been thinking about what I am going to say and to be honest, I don't even think I have the words! Finishing the mission has been probably one of the hardest, most emotional things ever. It is absolutely incredible to me how fast time goes - I feel like I just entered the mission field yesterday and it is crazy to think that it has already passed! But of course, something that the Lord has taught me in the mission and especially these past few days is that he doesn't just need full-time missionaries for a couple of years, but he needs disciples forever. I will be forever grateful for the time I had to serve as a full-time missionary. It's something that I truly don't ever want to stop doing, and it's hard to think that I'll be leaving a place I've come to love so much and people that I adore! In these past 18 months I've learned A LOT of things haha more than I think I can count! But more than anything, I've truly seen and felt how much our Heavenly Father loves us. It's completely mind-blowing and yet so simple! We have a Father in Heaven who loves us with a love more deep than we can understand. Sometimes, we might think, why don't I feel it? He must not love me because I don't seem to be receiving any blessings. But, that's just what Satan wants us to think - trust me. And it's not true! In our times of trial, in our times of despair, Heavenly Father is just waiting and waiting and pleading that we will just turn to Him! And when we do that, when we recognize all the small blessings, when we take that step of faith, we realize that He is always by our side and never leaves. The secret (not that it is or ever has been) is faith. Everyday for the past 18 months I've had to put it into practice - and let me say that it wasn't always easy! There were some days where literally I would just think, why? Where's the progress? Where are the miracles? What should we do? Rarely did I ever receive a direct answer, and so I had to act on faith! And I will be forever grateful for that, because I learned to truly rely on the Lord and take a step of faith. I testify that faith works. It's an eternal principle, even the first principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I testify that he lives and that he loves us. That he came to earth, preached the Gospel, lived a perfect life, atoned for us and was resurrected! As I've studied about the Restored Gospel I've come to realize truly how important our Savior is. We literally cannot to anything without him! So we are very wise to strive to live how he lived, and I promise you, there is joy in living the Gospel! I know with all of my heart that Heavenly Father restored the true Gospel and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God!! The priesthood has been restored and we can know that families are forever!! In the mission, there has been nothing more sweet than to testify of forever families! Another thing that I will never be tired of saying is that we have a living prophet today that is guiding us! He does receive revelation from God! The Book of Mormon is true. There is such a powerful spirit when you read it!! Prayers are heard, and miracles do happen. We have all been called to preach the Gospel to everyone!! I promise that there is nothing greater that we can do!! Never give up on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is WORTH IT!! It is all worth it, no matter what happens. There are blessings God wants to give us if we just turn to Him. I'm grateful for Him and for His love. 

Thank you for all the love and support given!! I have truly felt many prayers for me, and for the people here. Can't believe I'm saying this, but see you soon!!

Hermana Holt
My final day with my final companion 

My beautiful Dominicans

 Hermana Halling

 Oh, ya know, just getting some avocados after church

 Hermana Patino with Hermana Dora

 Hermana Silvia who went contacting with us

 Mi Hermana Quenia
 With Hermana Marte and Lauriana

 The Logsdons-the sweetest family

With Vivian Logsdon

 It was hard saying goodbye-Hermana Giovanna

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 77: We are all a family

Hola a todos!!

Gahhh time is going by WAY too fast!! I can't believe this is my last full week!! Heavenly Father has been so good to me in my mission. I can't thank Him enough for the experiences He has given me that has brought me up to this point! This past week was a good one, we had some great experiences! 

First, there is a member in our ward, her name is Silivia and let me just say I LOVE Hna Silvia!! She's already served 2 missions (being a senior sister missionary) and she wants to serve another haha and she's almost 70!! Well, she went out with us and all of our plans fell through.. so you know what she says to us before we can say anything? Let's start contacting!! HAHA we were dying!! I love this lady!! And she spent the whole afternoon, WALKING, and knocking on doors, and teaching lessons with us - now that is a faithful member of the church :) And let me tell you this lady has NO fear whatsoever, she would literally get up as close as she could to these houses and yell with her strong voice, BUEENNAAAAS! Some people accepted us more than others haha but it was so fun! See? We can all be missionaries! Make sure you give the missionaries a hand this week, they would love to have members come and contact with them, or just be in a lesson and support the investigators and less actives! If you've never done it, DO it! It is ALL of our responsibility!

A while ago I think I had mentioned a family we had found, Josefina and her kids. Well, after a few weeks of losing some contact, we finally got to see them, and I truly think it's time for them to accept the Gospel! Just last week her dad passed away, and she's been trying to raise her 3 kids with not much help from her husband. We were able to share a little bit with her, and Hna Silivia came too :) and it's amazing what kind of spirit comes into the home as you talk about the family - what an amazing knowledge we have of the Plan of Salvation! Just yesterday Hna Silvia had told us that the 14 year old daughter was talking to Hna Silvia later that day (they are neighbors) and that they are making plans to come to church this week!! YAY! We are praying for a miracle, and we are excited to see what happens!

Stake Conference was AMAZING! And our Stake President Rosa, who is only 31, is absolutely incredible. We had a super cool theme of missionary work through our temple work. But how if we don't have a temple?? Pte Rosa said something amazing that I loved, The construction of the temple already has begun in our hearts.. it all starts with the desire to have a temple, and than doing all we can, acting on our faith, to get one! And since we don't have one here, it all starts with our Family History work. Awesome, right? I wish I could have recorded his talks! So for all of you who have a temple close, GO. Receive those beautiful blessings that the temple brings, and help those people who have already passed on, our own family and others (because we all are a family) to receive those same blessings. Heavenly Fathers Gospel and plan are perfect!!

Have a great week :)

Hermana Holt 
The wonderful senior couples
The Porters and Eakles 

 Ya, I'm stuffed

The building of the temple begins in your hearts 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 76: Final District Meeting

Hola a todos!! 

Yesterday was Labor Day so we are writing today :) Haha and you are not going to believe what our district did to me and Hna Van Kammen this morning! Well, today was my last District Meeting because next week is Zone Conference so they decided to throw us a little "surprise"! I was a little nervous because the past transfers we've stuffed the Elders faces in whipped cream haha and I was not ready for that! We had just finished talking about the Spirit when our District Leader says, Ok Hna Van Kammen and Hna Holt you two are going to be blind folded, and you have to follow the voice of the "Spirit" to the other side of the room - the rest of us will distract you with loud noises. HAHA nice try! I knew they were up to something but we just went with it! And they weren't kidding about the loud noises haha there we are trying to walk to the other side of the room, trying to listen for the still, small voice when POP POP POP.. balloons popping everywhere!!! When we both got to the other side there was just silence.. so we both took off our blindfolds and there was the whole district in front in a line and they start to sing, Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos.. or God Be With You Til We Meet Again.. Wow! How amazing is my district? It was a really touching moment. 

We got some new investigators this week and had a lot of success contacting so I know the Lord is aware of this area and wants it to succeed! Now lets just see if we can get these people to church!! It seriously has been such a struggle with these people and we aren't sure why.. but this week we have Stake Conference, lets see if they'll come to that! But things are good :) I've felt a lot this week the love the Lord has for me and for the people we are teaching. I've also felt the power of prayer and of fasting. Also, there is power when we bear our testimony! It strengthens our own. Anyway, can't wait to let you know how Stake Conference goes! Have a great week everyone!!

Hermana Holt

 Just before the rain


 some of the reasons we gain weight here

 final district meeting
 there is something going on here

 Saying our goodbyes

 the elders wore black ties in honor of our funeral

Are you kidding me?  Four days after I leave!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 75: 17 miracle months

Hola a todos!!

So it's begun, the final countdown!! Haha but believe it or not, all of the members and investigators are the ones that keep reminding me, it's ridiculous!! But, luckily the work keeps me focused so everything is great :)

Sorry I'm writing so early, and I won't be able to say much - we have a Zone Activity a little later today and all I heard is that it involves Minute to Win it games and kickball.. haha so this should be interesting!!

Well, this week was super funny and a little weird because Puerto Rico was expecting a hurricane, and then a "big" tropical storm and we ended up with basically nothing haha. Well, at least on our part of the Island! I do know that some of the small islands got rained on pretty hard, but by the time it came up to us it had already settled down a lot. The hardest thing for us was, all the Puerto Ricans were expecting something and so NO one was leaving their house! NO one wanted to do anything, just locked in their house! So, a little slow lesson wise, but we were blessed with some rain so that's the miracle! 

We had some crazy lessons this week, crazy as in lots of questions! We've got some new investigators that are just drilling down questions, mostly related with the Book of Mormon! They aren't doing it to be mean or anything, which is nice, but they've been reading a lot which is great! I've just been reminded how important it is to have the Spirit teach the lessons. He's the one that brings the peace and testifies of the truth to these people! We may not know the answer to everything, but Heavenly Father has give us many ways to know the truth of all things - one of the most important being prayer and through the Holy Ghost! What a blessing! 

We had a little ward game night and you won't believe it, but Quenia actually brought her husband!! I haven't talked much about him, but let's just say he isn't that interested in our message! When we first met him he didn't even say hi to us, but he's warmed up a lot. And it was such a great surprise to see him come!! Now that is a miracle!!

Sorry I've got to go! Remember that the Lord loves us and is so aware of everything we are going through. I've definitely have felt His love and support in these past few days! Have a great week!

Hermana Holt
 One last sign

The church's bathroom water system

Ward game night

Hermana Patino killing it at dominos


Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 74: One more month

Hola a todos! 

Super fast week this week, it feels like I was just writing yesterday! This week we had a lot of different things going on so it kept us busy! Love it! This week we had our intercambios and I got to go to Trujillo Alto for the day and work with Hermana VAN KAMMEN!! It was so fun to be able to work with a sister I've known since Day 1!! And now we are finishing the mission together, at least in the same district, how cool is that? I absolutely love intercambios because you totally get to see how the Lord is working miracles in different parts of the island! It's definitely a true work :) That's why it works!! We were able to find and teach a new family, and the Spirit just filled the room! I know for a fact that it's the Spirit that does the heart changing. It was a super fun experience too because a member came with us and even went out contacting with us! Haha it's super fun to see a Puerto Rican contacting Puerto Ricans!! Try contacting with the missionaries one day, it's fun and they would love the help! 

Super cool experience!! About 2 weeks ago we had contacted a lady and she told us that we could come back. So we past by when she told us to and she said she was busy and that we should come back later.. we were a little hesitant because she didn't seem too sincere, but I don't know why, I just felt the need to go back! So, for the 3rd time we go back determined to teach her, and she let us in! Her name is Irene and we hit it off right away! Her husband Gabriel even joined us in the lesson and we immediately got talking about the Book of Mormon, great topic right? :) It was such a fun lesson, they had a lot of great questions and were super receptive to the message of the Restoration. They both go to an iglesia Evangelica but were super open to reading the Book of Mormon! We are excited to go back this week and see them! 

Not sure what you've heard, but basically what everyone has been talking about this past week is a hurricane that apparently has been off the coast of Puerto Rico for quite some time and supposedly we should be getting a ton of rain this week.. not sure how true it is because every one is saying different things!! But we need the rain! So we'll see what happens haha

Last thing, QUENIA IS REACTIVATED!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it?? She had her interview yesterday with the bishop and now she has the calling of working in the library until she heads to Texas!! What a miracle we have seen with her!! I still clearly remember the day when Hna Ahlander and I first met her and she straight up told us that she would never be going back to church, at least not for a long time.. and yet here she is!! And with a testimony, wow, incredible of our Savior and of the scriptures!! We stopped by this past week and she just looked at me and expressed to me how much her testimony has strengthened and how much she has grown and changed as a person, just by reading the scriptures and the words of our modern day prophets. There are no words to explain the joy I felt as I heard her testify to me! I've been really blessed to see the progress of many less actives in my mission and I can say that the one thing that really made a difference in all of their conversions, was their desire to read the scriptures - especially the Book of Mormon. I think I've said this a thousand times in the mission and I will keep saying it, the Book of Mormon changes lives! It changes our temporal perspective to an eternal one. It changes our attitude and reverence toward our Savior. It changes our way of thinking to a way that then changes our actions. Our Heavenly Father truly loves us because He has given us this tool to fill our lives with more joy than we can imagine! 

Have a great week everyone!

Hermana Holt
 Reunited with Hermana VanKammen

 We got a little bit fried

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 73: The Pouring Rain, Finally

Hola a todos!! 

Heavenly Father has started to answer basically every Puerto Ricans prayer this week because WOW did it POUR!! Pouring rain isn't as fun for us as missionaries haha but we need the water! We now only have water on Tuesdays and Saturdays.. so.. it's quite the experience! I think Hermana Patino and I have mastered the art of saving water! This is a time where we've had to be completely prepared in every moment, because sometimes the water barely turns on! But really, it makes me think of how blessed we are as a church to have living prophets who have been telling us for years to be prepared for times like these, we never know when they might come, but our living prophet receives some pretty accurate revelation about it ;) Listen to him!! 

Guess what we put this past week?? UNA FECHA!!! Our investigadora accepted to be baptized the 12th of September and we are SO excited!! So now is when we truly need to see the miracles!! But I see a lot of potential in her, so I feel truly blessed to be able to see how Heavenly Father works through her. The Gospel is true!! We also had a cool experience this week. We were trying to find people from the Area Book but no one seemed to be home, nor wanted to answer, but before we went to the next person on our list, we decided to contact all of the neighbors with the time we had left, and I'm so glad we did!! After failing to contact another person on our list, we felt to go the house right next to it first. Out comes a lady named Josefina, and she lets us right in! And even better, she knows one of the members that lives by and her daughter had come to our church before and loved it! We focused a ton on families (which is one of my favorite things to testify about) and her 3 kids sat through the whole lesson! It comes to show that Heavenly Father has a plan for every tiny thing, He knows our plans before we even decide to do them! And even better, He knows every one of His children and prepares them for when they need to hear the message of the Gospel!! We are excited to work with them :)

I've been learning a lot about faith in these past few days, which I feel like is a principle that we should continually strive to learn about and put into practice daily. I think it's interesting how in the scriptures it says that faith is a hope for things which are not seen.. and I feel that the "not seeing" is the part that might make us stumble a little bit at times. But that is why when we speak of faith, it isn't having faith and hope in the things of the world and it's ever changing values (things that we may see), but it's faith in Jesus Christ, who has a foundation that will never fall (we may not see him, but he is there). The most important thing is to keep going! Keep having faith, keep having that hope that things will work out, keep trusting in Christ, and the blessings will come. It may not be in the form we would like and they may not be blessings we physically see, but the amazing thing is is how Christ helps us and lifts us up, as we show him that faith. It's not always easy, but the Gospel is so worth it! 

Hermana Holt

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week 72: Final Transfer: Staying in Guaynabo

Hola a todos!!

So as I mentioned last week, we had a Mini Missionary with us, Hermana de Jesus!! Wow it was so fun to be in a trio again, it's been a while!! Some missionaries aren't a big fan of trios but Heavenly Father has helped me learn to love them, more testimony givers :) Anyway, it was a good week and even though Hermana Patino and I were kinda nervous about it, she ended up loving it!! Of course, who doesn't love spending every minute sharing the Gospel?? We made her walk.. quite a bit.. hahaha but she was a super good sport and had a lot of patience with Hermana Patino and I :) She has such a powerful testimony. It was so amazing to hear her conversion story. She got baptized just 2 years ago and wow. I am completely amazed with the youth of this church! They just shine!! Her gradparents were baptized first, than her with her mom and her brother (who was also serving a Mini Mission) and just this past February her dad took the discussions and was baptized! A whole family!! They are planning on going to the temple next year, can you hear anything more amazing than that? She definitely got us pumped in finding a family! Our goal really is the temple!!

Well, transfers are tomorrow and Hermana Patino and I are STAYING IN GUAYNABO!!!!! Wow, I never thought it would come to the day when I would say that this is my LAST transfer. Trust me, in missionary time, one transfer is like nothing haha it goes by so fast. SO you know what that means? Work harder than ever!! Hermana Patino and I are so ready. 

This past week we met an old investigator from the Area Book who actually is the daughter of a member here and it went super well!! I feel like she has a lot of potential! It was a super spiritual lesson and she had a lot of desire to know about the Restoration. Our investigator Dominga accepted a baptismal invitation!! Haha that came at a complete surprise to us! We have to teach her very simply and kinda slow haha but she has such a desire to follow Jesus Christ, which is the most important! She's coming to church this next week :) FINALLY!

I just feel like testifying about the love of the Savior. That is probably one of my favorite things to testify about, because I know it's true and it's real. I feel it every time I testify to the people we talk to. If the people we teach don't ever come to really accept our message at this time, I just hope and pray that they can feel and understand that they are loved. And really, I've come to truly understand and feel that the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ IS a message of love! It completely amazes me every time I study more and more about our Savior, the Gospel, and His plan of happiness. We are truly loved :) And we are blessed everyday! Have a great week :)

Here's to the new transfer!

Hermana Holt
 Hermana de Jesus

 Language study-is English that hard?