Thursday, April 24, 2014

Week 4: One month

Hola everyone!!!!!!! I can't even believe that I have been out a month in 2 days... where has the time gone?? 2 more weeks in the CCM and then I'm off to Puerto Rico!! I'm so excited, but at the same time I can't even imagine leaving here!! Being here in the CCM has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life!!! I have such a love for this place that I can't even describe!! I feel so blessed to have been able to be here in the DR and then to also serve in Puerto Rico!! Ok so guess what? We are going on splits... with the actual DR missionaries... for 6 hours... TOMORROW!!! Oh my lanta!!!! Hahaha I don't know whether or not to be more excited or freaked out!! Chistes :) Excited of course!!! But, freaked out too hahaha a lot acutally.. I've only learned Spanish for 4 weeks and they are already throwing me into the field for a day! But all is well! This just goes to show that this is the Lord's work!! That anything is possible with His help!! We'll see how tomorrow goes though :) Wish me luck!!

So we have now moved rooms here in the CCM for the third time, but this time it's even better because President moved us into the room with the new sisters from Mexcio!!! So now we can really practice our Spanish!! I am so excited and they are such sweethearts! They came in really late last night and have orientation today so we haven't talked to them much, but from what we have talked to them, we can understand most of what they are saying!! Yayaya!!

Oh! So us missionaries were out by the temple the other day and one of the Latino missionaries that had been with us 2 weeks earlier was with his companion at the temple!! I exactly remember that when he was here in the CCM, he was one of the ones that we could NEVER understand, no matter how slow he talked! Haha I don't know why!! But when we talked to him, I got around 70 to 80% of what he was saying!! Wha?!?! It felt so cool!!! Don't get me wrong, I am NO where near fluent in listening or speaking, but it was cool to see how much the Lord helps us!!

So, another sad day this week, the Haitians left us on Tuesday. I really don't like this whole goodbye thing, but I can't begin to express my love for these missionaries and I feel so blessed fo rthe time I had here with them!! And we even understood them less because they only spoke French!!! Haha luckily one of the sisters speaks a little French, so that helped a lot! All of us Americans sang God Be With You Til We Meet Again (one verse in english, then spanish, then french) and it was one of the most tender moments. I love this Gospel so much and I know I will see them again someday!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!! Mine was absolutely incredible. Our sacrament meeting was a live broadcast from the Provo MTC and Pres Uchtdorf was our surprise speaker!!!! How cool is that?? It was the most amazing talk and it was such an answer to my prayers. During the week we have times where we walk around the temple grounds and practice speaking to the members who are just outside, and I don't know why but this one day I was just having the hardest time making the step and walking up to them. I had no idea what I was going to say to them and no words were coming to mind, at least not spanish words! I was becoming so frustrated at myself. I kept thinking to myself how sad it was that I, as a missionary, was afraid to talk to members. Members! It was just a rough day. And of course, the Lord will always send something or someone to help us if we ask Him. Pres Uchtdorf talked about faith over fear and how we should "fear no man"!!!! That was basically his quote haha! He said that when we are relying on the Lord, there is no reason to fear! And as missionaries, if we are doing what we are supposed to, he will be on our right hand and on our left (DC 84:88). It was amazing and it touched me so much. So I've been trying really hard to fear no man!! Haha love Pres Uchtdorf!! We also watched a devotional by Elder Holland. MAN is that guy POWERFUL!!!!!! He talked about becoming converted ourselves so we are able to help other on their own path to conversion. So amazing!! The Church is true. And Christ lives!!

Well, I'm down to my last minutes!! Time goes by way too fast, even in emailing!! Have a great week everyone! Here is a quote that basically is my districts motto: "Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles." The Lord loves you. YOU. And if you trust Him, and do His will, He will bless you more than you could ever imagine!! And who knows, maybe you could be the miracle for someone else!!  

Hermana Holt

Great companions

Having fun in class

Friday, April 18, 2014

Week 3: I can speak Spanish

Hola everyone!!!! Wow what a week. It has been such a humbling one and of course such an amazing one!! The Lord is SO mindful of all his children, I can testify of that!! So, with all the craziness last week I forgot to write that we went to the store for the first time!! It was SO fun!!! Except I don't think I've ever been stared at in my whole life.... hahaha and I am just grateful that none of us got hit by a car!! I'm surprised I haven't seen a wreck yet!! The store was basically like a small Walmart except everything was in Spanish :) Haha but really it was great! All the bag boys were trying to get our numbers.. hahaha and we didn't know how to explain to them in Spanish that we didn't even have one! Good times!
On Friday we went to the University and contacted for about an hour and 1/2! Talk about scary?? And my teachers were like, you have nothing to be scared of!! Uhhh, I don't speak Spanish? Hahaha nah it actually went better than what I thought it would be! I will be honest though, it took me and my companion 30 MIN to speak to the first person!!! Hahaha but once we did, (not sure if he understood what we were saying) it was a lot easier to talk to people!! Our next contact was actually a group of 20 people!!! A couple of them spoke English so they helped us with what we didn't know! We gave out most of our pamphlets to them haha :) Oh my goodness, the next two people were so awesome! This guy had come up to us and said that he had wanted to talk to us when he saw us earlier but was too nervous, but then he "happened" to run into us again! Haha happened, yeah there are no coincidences!! Now I understand what people mean when they say, the people are prepared. We taught this guy for a good 20 or so min and man!! He is so ready!! He had to take a test so we gave him the info he needed for the missionaries and gave him a Book of Mormon and yeah!! I have no idea if he will ever contact the missionaries, but in the CCM we have been talking a lot about planting seeds in the people we meet.. and I know that me and Hna Frost did!! We met another guy who was super interested too!! We are going to the University again tomorrow so hopefully I can speak better Spanish and not be as afraid to talk to people!! I honestly have such a love for the Dominican people though, it is going to be SO hard to leave!!
So Hna Frost and I are now the MTC music directors!! Hahaha how fun is that? So basically for every meeting we are in charge of the music and musical numbers for church and devotionals!! We are actually really excited and it's fun so far!! Hna Freestone said that she wants us to start an MTC choir!! Haha can you just imagine me conducting a choir?? It's going to be so fun though!! Music is such an amazing way we can worship our Savior!! I feel so blessed with such a musical family who has helped me better my musical talents!! Speaking of music and devotionals, the President of the Area 70 and his wife came and spoke to us the other day!! President Andersen!! And I got to play the piano for the meeting! I guess that doesn't seem like a big deal but it was great!! And of course, the devotional was amazing!! He talked a lot about our purpose as missionaries and it was awesome. I love being a missionary!! It's hard here in the MTC sometimes, but I know it's going to be worth it!!
Well, the language is definitely going.. haha it's definitely humbling because you just want to know everything as fast as you can!! And you feel like you know a lot, and then you get into a lesson and bam, it's gone!! But, then I just have to remember to thank Heavenly Father for how much I HAVE learned, which is a lot more than I think!! I have to always remind myself that I can't learn this language on my own, I need SO much help from Heavenly Father. And He wants to help me!! This is His work! I just have to allow Him to help me!! And that goes for all of us, a Hermana reminded me of this this week. Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine and He has given us SO many things to help us become closer to Him. Prayer, the scriptures, church, our families. Whenever we need something, NO matter how small it is, ask Him for help. He wants to help you. Humbly come to Him and let Him bless you!!
We had such an amazing morning this morning at the temple. So, the Haitians that are here, this maybe some of there only times they can come here to the temple, so they all brough family names to have done in the temple! And we got to help them with that. What an amazing thing. And, 2 of our amazing Haitian elders were able to be sealed to their parents, who have since passed away. Such a powerful thing!! I love the faith these Elders and Hermanas have. I love this Gospel!!!
Anyway, I can't believe today begins my 4th week at the CCM!!!!!! Where has the time gone??? I honestly can't believe it. Anyway, I love you all!! Have a wonderful week!!

Hermana Holt

The view outside the CCM

The newbie girls

The Haitian missionaries

I wasn't kidding about my love of the rice.  
My teachers used it as an example in class

Hermana Padgett
her cousin was my brother's MTC comp.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Week 2: General Conference

Hola everyone!!! So I tried really hard this week to write down things that I need to mention is today's email haha cause last week my mind was absolutely crazy!!!
Anyway, let me just say, I LOVE ARIZONA!!!!!!! When President Monson mentioned the Gilbert Temple Dedication, I just sat there and cried. Not sad tears of course, but tears of just absolute happiness and gratitude for the people in Mesa and Gilbert and for the wonderful new temple celebration and dedication!! And then when Elder Walker mentioned it too, fist pumped in the air!! Way to be AZ!! Shout out to my beautiful cousin Michaeley who had the opportunity to be in the celebration!! Speaking of Conference, HOW BLESSED ARE WE?!?! Wasn't it just the best?? We got to watch it here in English (thank goodness!!) and it was absolutely wonderful. I can't even get over it!! I know for a fact that all of those speakers were inspired of the Lord. I loved every second of it! I'm trying to think of some of my favorite ones, Elder Holland's (duh, he's amazing), Sister Reeves, Uchtdorfs, and of course M Russell Ballard because he talked about MISSIONARY WORK!! Guys, we are all missionaries in our every day lives!! If you haven't ever looked at Preach My Gospel, grab one! Study it! Follow up on people! Everyone you meet is a son or daughter of God and deserves to know of the happiness we feel as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Don't be scared to talk to people (really, don't be haha I have to do it in Spanish so you're way good)!!!
So, I realized I didn't say a lot last week about the CCM! Or maybe I did... hahaha I don't remember! But, here's a normal day here! So, we get up at 6:30, breakfast at 7, personal study at 7:30, companion study at 8:30 and then we start our first class of the day with Hermano Ramirez!! Oh my lanta he is SO funny!! He's 6 foot 2 and reminds me of a big teddy bear! Haha for reals! Sweetest guy! We work on grammer with him and he also acts as one of our investigators!! Haha fun... but really, it's hard sometimes but it's awesome practice! Then from there we have lunch at 12:30 (seriously, I think I'm going to gain a million pounds on all this rice!!! haha but it's terrible cause you can't help eating it cause it's so dang good!!)! Class starts again at 1:30 with Hermano Martinez and Hermano Rodriguez (they switch off)! Hilarious!! Martinez speaks barley any English so yesterday, we said had a contest to see if us missionaries could go from lunch to dinner speaking only Spanish, and he had to speak only English!! The BEST part of it was when Hermana Partridge asked him to explain some grammer stuff (so he had to do it in english) and he had NO idea how to so he just put his hand up and said, "talking to the hand"!! HAHA it was awesome!!! Yeah. I have the best teachers. Rodriguez is so great too, he has the best stories and he talks to us a lot more in English so that's nice :) At 3:30 we start our service and then have gym time til 4:45! We mostley all play volleyball which is completely fine with me :) Dinner starts at 5:15 and we are in class again by 6 with more grammer and more lessons and another investigator, except this investigator isn't as nice... hahaha but it's all good!! The teacher is awesome, his name is Hermano Rubio!!! Most intimidating guy but not intimidating guy I've ever met!! Haha doesn't make sense, right? But if you knew him it would!! He told us that he didn't know how to speak English and we totally believed him for the first week until he accidently said a couple words!! Haha got him!! But yeah, all the teachers are amazing and they really try and make us speak Spanish all the time, which is good but still hard sometimes! During lessons, I'll have all these ideas come to my head about what to say, but the problem is is that I can't make it come out in Spanish!! Haha but we are all getting better!
Our district has been working really hard. I don't know what I said last week, but we on top of what we have already memorized, we have now added the first vision and Doctrine and Covenants 4 to the list!! Ramirez said that we are the first district ever to do all that before the second week!! Woo!! We still have so much to work on though, sitting in the same class all day everyday kinda makes it hard to stay focused sometimes, but we are getting better!! So, the saddest day ever, all the Latin missionaries left this Tuesday. Us Americans sang God Be With You Til We Meet Again for them during family prayer and it was such a bittersweet moment! I couldn't believe how hard it was for us to see them go! Don't get me wrong, I am SO excited for them to finally begin their missions!! Even though, I could barely understand them most of the time, I grew a love for all the missionaries!! They were such awesome examples to me!! I know without a doubt that people are put into our lives for a reason. I've noticed that troughout my life that Heavenly Father answers myself through people! I feel so blessed for all my amazing family that I have and the friends that have come and gone through the years!!!
Hmm... well I think that is mostly it for this week! The new missionaries came in last night and today! OH YEAH! When the latin missionaries left, it was only us 12 American missionaries in the WHOLE CCM. The whole thing!!!!! How crazy is that??? Haha kinda fun too!! Anyway, we have about 15 or so Haitians that joined us! And apparently some of the Americans missed their flight or something so they came today, we only had 3 come in last night!! Haha ok, I'm really hoping and praying that you guys can understand and follow this email!! Haha I had no idea how hard it would be to write these emails! Anyway, I love you all! Remember, the Church is true and the Book is blue!! :) Haha have a great week in the hot place of Arizona!!
Love always, Hermana Holt 

My District going to the temple on P-day

My classroom

My companion, Hermana Frost

My crazy district

the view from my room

Friday, April 4, 2014

Week 1: A little bit of paradise

The Dominican Republic temple grounds

Hola to all my friends and family!!! Oh my goodness I don't even know where to start!! I can't believe it's already been a week! Everyone who has ever told me about the MTC is totally right, the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days!! I've only been out for a week and I have learned SO much I can't even count!! Things have been hard, but they always seem to turn out right. You know why? Because Heavenly Father is totally in charge!! And He loves His missionaries SO much and I still can't help smiling so much every time I put on MY missionary tag!! So, the DR is absolutely beautiful. I love the humidity, it's not as bad as i thought it would be!! Well, it's bad when we play frisbee outside haha but other than that it's perfect! The MTC, oops the CCM :) is on the temple grounds so I get to look at the Santo Domingo temple several times a day. Paradise? I think so! Oh, the plane ride wasn't that bad at all! I was all by myself from Phoenix to Miami but then I met up with other missionaries there!! Hahaha and for some reason, like 20 minutes before we were supposed to board, they changed the boarding location and because EVERYONE speaks Spanish in that airport, we had no idea!! Haha could you imagine if 10 missionaries didn't make their flight?? We booked it so fast cause of course it was on the other side of the airport! Haha but all is well! We got there just in time!!
So, my CCM president is Presidente Freestone and his wife Hermana Freestone. They are awesome!!  elder oropeza es chido (tururu) Haha one of the Elders just wrote that and I have no idea what it means.... anyway, all the missionaries here are seriously SO great!! There are only about 15 Americans here and the rest of the 30 or so missionaries are from either here in the DR, Mexico, Hondurus or from other countries around here. SO, no one speaks English at all hahaha it's crazy!! And of course, the teachers won't speak to us in Spanish either!! They do occasionally, but we are literally immersed 24/7, which is great!! But at the same time, it's nice to have someone talk to you in English sometimes!! So, my companions name is Hermana Frost and she is so amazing!!! She's from Utah and she has the sweetest heart ever. She is already such a great example to me and it's only been a week! We are working so hard and have already taught 4 lessons in Spanish (hahaha well we tried)!! Classes are great, the food is so yummy, I'm on a tropical Island, we went to the temple this morning, I'm a missionary and it is seriously the best thing ever!!!
I definitely have learned so many lessons from being here though. Learning a language is really hard! Like really hard haha but honestly, no matter how hard it gets and no matter how frustrating it is sometimes and to try and say what you're feeling in Spanish, you just have to keep trying!! I've been really humbled coming here, not that I thought I would become so perfect at learning the language, but I definitely didn't want to make mistakes! HA!! What was I thinking? I have made so many mistakes with the language, but it's ok!!!! That's how I become better!!!! My district (Hermanas Frost, Partridge, Van Kammen, Elders Olalere, Walker) has already accomplished so much and even though it's been the hardest thing, I can't help but be so happy for what we have done!! The church is true people!!! The gift of tongues is real!!!! Wow, there is NO time to write hahaha! Well, I love all of you!!!! If any of you wanted to write me, letters would be much more appreciated than emailing!! Haha I seriously have NO time to email. I wish I could tell you guys everything!! Sorry this is so jumbled!!!!!!!

Love, Hermana Holt

Can you believe this paradise?

My CCM district

President and Sister Freestone