Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 27: 6 months!

Hola a todos!!
Pues, six months DOWN, ONE YEAR to go!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, what a whirlwind these past 6 months have been, but how excited I am to know that I still have one year to serve the Lord!! I love being a missionary and I feel so blessed to wake up everyday and to put on my name tag and get to work! These past 6 months definitely have not been easy, but it's through the harder times where we are able to learn and grow; when we can put all of our trust in Him and everything turns out the way it needs to be! I still have a lot to learn here in the mission, so here to another year of the best 18 months of my life!! WOO!!
So, this week went by SUPER duper fast it's crazy!! But I am super excited because we are starting to really see miracles here in Juana Diaz! First of all, I don't think I've walked and contacted so much in my entire mission than I have in these past 3 weeks.. haha. En verdad, it was getting super hard for my companion and I, because in all those days walking, some days we wouldn't have any lessons and talk with almost no one! But, really the only thing that we can do is keep going, right? And now, here we are with 5 investigators!!!! Woo!! Heavenly Father definitely is preparing people here, and we hope that we are able to help them understand the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can bless them more than they could have ever imagined!! So, we'll see how this next week goes!!
I'll talk about two of them, Lucy and her husband! Lucy was a contact that we talked to about 2 weeks ago and told us to pass by everytime! When we passed by the first time she didn't have a lot of time, so we talked to her really fast, but oh my goodness she is SO sweet!!! And so receptive and willing to listen! They had the missionaries in their home about 10 years ago, so we'll see what happens this time! We stopped by again Sunday afternoon and this time her husband was home, score!! They are SUCH nice people and were totally open to everything we talked about. They have a lot of faith and really want to know which path really is the correct one. We gave them the Restoration Pamphlet and have plans to visit them this next Sunday (that's when the husband doesn't work) and I'm super excited!! They are in their 60's and also have a daughter who is the sweetest!! She gives us rides basically whenever we need it! I really hope everything goes well because they have great potential!
We also have a guy named Morgan. He also has talked about with the missionaries, but it's been a while too! He also is looking for that right path and is super confused why there are so many different churches and paths that people say you should take. We've only had one short lesson with him, but we have an appointment with him the next week, so we are praying that he will notice the difference and feel the truth of our message! It really is a message of joy!!
In both of these cases, I've noticed something. That they both have met with missionaries before! As I've thought about this, it gave me so much hope that all the people that my companion and I talk to here, if they don't accept it now, that doesn't mean that they won't later!! Everyone has their timing, and we just need to trust in our Heavenly Father, because He knows exactly when they need it!! That has given me more motivation to just talk with everyone, no matter what! Because who knows, the next time the missionaries talk to them, they might be ready!
Anyway, another detail this week, I really really really REALLY dislike mosquitos!!! I have over 40 bites on my legs! Yeahhh that's right! 40. Haha I am dying cause I keep itching! Oh, the talent show was super fun!! Us missionaries sang "En Mi Viejo San Juan"- a Puerto Rican classic, so everyone loved it!! Us missionaries color coordinated and everything! Good time!
So I hope all the women watched the Relief Society Coference because it was AMAZING!!! It was a little bit different for me because I had to watch it in Spanish, haha but from what I understood it was SO spiritually uplifting!! Love it. And I loved how basically it was all about our covenants and the temple!! How important they are!! Really, we can receive so much strength as we keep our covenants. And come on, how amazing is President Uchtdorf?? He makes me cry every time. We are all children of our Heavenly Father!! DON'T YOU FORGET THAT!!
Pues, I can't believe that we are already half way through this transfer... gahh!!! But all is well :) The church is true everyone!! Have a great week!! And don't forget that General Conference is this weekend!! I know that as we prepare ourselves, we will hear exactly what the Lord wants us to hear.
Hermana Holt

 the beauty of Puerto Rico is breathtaking

a quick car ride

 Happy birthday Hermana Ramos

 both celebrating: her bday and my 6month mark

WooHoo!  6 months

 falta 1 ano

 we get lots of free soda

 Juana Diaz sign

 another 3 kings statue

 me and my comp

 my comp celebrates one year

 our practice investigator

 "Pincho" follows us everywhere

 waiting for the wedding

the ceremony
 young women from the ward

 a stray horse

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 26: Missionaries walk and walk and walk and walk

Hola a todos!

Pues, there isn't too much to say about this week, Hna Escobar and I are still trying to get the hang of things here. This week has been absolutely full to the brim of walking and contacting haha so we are absolutely exhausted! But luckily, our nights have been in the chapel because the ward started some activities! So Tuesday nights are Family History nights (taught by the missionaries), Wednesday we have mutual of course, and then Thursday nights they just started a Scripture Study night (also taught be the missionaries haha). But they just started them this week, so the turn out wasn't the best, but it was still fun!! I know that with time, more people will come!

So just as last week, this week we also have been trying to get to know the members more and we have actually been able to teach some less actives and a recent convert! One of the less actives, her name is Genesis and she is only 15 years old. She is such a sweetheart! Her mom was also baptized, but it's been a little bit harder to have her in the lessons. But anyway, the lesson we had with her was so precious. We shared a scripture with her, one that she was able to substitute her own name in, and the Spirit was super strong when she read it! As we were talking about what the significance of the scripture and what it meant to her, she expressed how she knew that what the missionaries had taught her and what she was learning in church was the right thing and that she did have a desire to do what was right, and that the moment she read the scripture she could feel the Spirit - Yay! So as we talked of course we took the opportunity and invited her to church this (past) Sunday, which she accepted! But sadly when we passed yesterday, she couldn't go. But! We have hope for this next week! We are just really hoping we can gain some more trust with the mom! Really, such a sweet family.

The recent convert is Celinette - oh my goodness she is such a doll! She is only 12 and got baptized about 8 months or so ago and attends church with her Gma who is a member. So none of her family are members! So, we have taken that opportunity as well and were able to get a hold of them yesterday! Her mom wasn't too surprised with us being there haha but the dad is more receptive and actually has read parts of the Book of Mormon and has gone to church, so hopefully everything goes well from here!

So this week we have the ward Talent Show and they want the missionaries to participate.. hahaha! Not sure what we are doing yet but I'm pretty sure I'll let you know about that next week!

We actually do have some appointments this week, so wish us luck with those!! Haha it's weird because my companion and I feel like we haven't taught a lesson in forever!! We have such a desire to help the work grow here in Juana Diaz, so we'll see what this week brings! All of our faith in the Lord, because right now that's all we can do!

SO excited for the Relief Society General Conference Session this Saturday and then General Conference next week!!! WATCH IT :)

Love you all, have a great week!
Hermana Holt

 Sliced my finger on a nail

 More of the beautiful Juana Diaz

 broke through my first pair of shoes

using our jump ropes to hang our laundry

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 25: Hola Juana Diaz

Hola a todos! Well, here I am writing from the beautiful pueblo of Juana Diaz!! Wow, this week has felt so long haha not sure why! So this is how the changes went. Basically, leaving San Sebastian was a lot harder than I thought it would be! And since we basically had one day to say our goodbyes, it was a lot of tears and way too fast. And even though I was actually super sad to leave, it's been super exciting with the change! So, Tuesday afternoon, I got picked up by the Sister Trainers, Hermana Boaz and Hermana Ramos and we headed for the Mission Office! When we got there we got to see all the newbie missionaries come in which was SO fun to see!! And to think that that was me 5 months ago, how crazy the time has gone!! And it was so funny because Hna Sosa, who had left with other Hnas a lot earlier than me, was at the office too and I got to see her new trainee (my sister!!)! So that was so great!! At the office I met my companion too, Hermana Escobar!!!! She is from Guatemala, has 11 months in the mission, and is SUCH a sweetheart!!!!! Seriously, I love her already and I'm definitely learning a lot!
So, there are 6 missionaries in Juana Diaz now! We live as 4 sisters in a house, us two with the Sister Trainers, and then there are two Elders here in the area as well. So this week has been a little complicated because they have never had 6 missionaries before, it has always been 4. So Hna Escobar and I have been starting from the very beginning, trying to get to know they area and just contacting, contacting, and contacting! We don't have an area book either so we are going to be starting a new one. We also started with the members list and we actually have received a lot of references for less actives, so I'm super excited! So yeah, we don't have any investigators at the moment haha but we are trying our best!! We are putting ALL of our trust and faith in the Lord and we are hoping for more success this coming week! Pues, church was pretty good, not a lot of members but they are all super fun and nice! I had to introduce myself and talk for a few minutes which is always fun haha but it went alright!!
Well, I guess there really isn't anything else to say! We are super excited to be working here because we know that there are people here waiting for the Gospel!! The Church is true everyone!! Have a great week!!
Hermana Holt

 Elder Alfaro (de California)
Elder Poroj (de Guatamala)
cutting down trees in our yard

 Hermana Boaz and I in front of our tree clippings

 Hermana Ramos with our groceries

 staute that talks about Juana Diaz

 our cute little house

 our sad little bookcase

 the sign for our urbanizacion

 the beautiful city

 Sister trainers: Hermana Boaz (de California) & Hermana Ramos (de Mexico) plus my cute companion Hermana Escobar (de Guatamala)

 our church building

the 3 Kings statue

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 24: Goodbye San Sebastian!

From our personal letter:
I hope you're on cause guess what... I'M LEAVING SAN SEBASTIAN!! Wooowwwww has it been a crazy couple of days, and emotional!! I am being sent to Juana Diaz, which is right on the beach and aparently one of the hottest places on the Island... ah!! And get this, Hna Sosa is leaving too!!!!! She is going to train in San German. We were super duper worried about our investigators but the missionaries that are coming in to take our place are awesome, so that took a lot of my fear away. Hna Madrigal is staying and Hna Watkins is headed to train near Bayamon. 3 changes mom!! It's been super hard on the ward but we are all just so thankful Madrigal is staying, that will be a big help! Wow, even though it's the hardest thing to leave this stake, this ward, and the people here whom I love so dearly, I have to trust that this next area is where the Lord needs me! I have been praying all week to be calm and have peace when I heard the transfers. And the Lord has been so gracious with me, cause I know that in this situation I would usually be FREAKING out haha (I might be just a tad), but it's been alright. I have complete confidence that the Lord needs me there right now. So my companion is Hermana Escobar and I don't know if I've ever met her and I heard she is from Guatemala so that's super exciting! I leave tomorrow so next weeks letter is going to be super fun to read :) Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!

Letter to all:

Hola todo! Well, this is the moment that us missionaries have been waiting for all week.. I'm leaving to JUANA DIAZ!! Haha this weekend was absolutely insane because we were supposed to hear about the transfers Saturday afternoon.. and they didn't have them. So then they were going to call us that night.. and they didn't have them!! So we had to wait ALL Sunday, and they didn't call til about 9 or so! Haha if you have been a missionary, you might know that it is a little bit more difficult to have patience with the transfers! Anyway, we were at the Stake Presidents house when they called to let us know and we all basically started crying right there! Wow! It still hasn't hit my mind that I'm leaving San Sebastian, but it's happening! To be honest, I am super sad to leave, but super excited at the same time! I am just putting all my trust in the Lord that this next area is where I need to be. And really, trying to have that attitude and moving forward with a lot of prayer is definitely helping with the move. And since we've only had one days notice, today has been full of packing and goodbyes, and then after emailing, more packing and goodbyes! But all is well, it is still the work of the Lord no matter where we are or where we go! So tomorrow, I'm off to Juana Diaz!

So, to talk a little bit about this week, things are going well with the investigators. They are super bummed about the changes, but we keep going, right?? Sadly Aurora and Peggy, again, couldn't make it to church.. again.., but Vicente came and he loved it!! It was fast and testimony meeting which was perfect that he was able to hear everyone bear their testimonies! And guess what?! We had a miracle in our ward. So remember our less active family of 7? So for the almost 5 months that we have been here, they have come to our ward I think 3 or 4 times now? So we have been working our absolute hardest with them, they are such a wonderful family! And I'm not sure how much I've explained about them, but the husband is President of the Elders Quorum and everything! So the past couple of times that they've come to church, they've come a little late, left a little early, and they would come in jeans and a t shirt. But, listen to this.. as Hna Sosa and I walk into church, there was the husband in a suit and tie, preparing for Elders Quorum!!!! So we went to go shake his hand and asked him where his family was, because we hadn't seen them. He then told us that he felt that he needed to come early because as President he needs to help prepare for the class and get things ready and that his family was coming in a little bit.. I didn't even know they had another car!!!!!!!!!! Hna Sosa and I couldn't believe it!!!!! And then the rest of the family came, all dressed up and tidy ready for church!!!! It was absolutely amazing and I have a feeling that they are going to be going to church from now on :)

Also, something super exciting happened in our ward this week! Friday night we had a guy come to talk about Geneology and Family History! Apparently, no one in our ward has ever sent names to the temple.. so he came to teach them how! Since there isn't a temple here, it's a little bit different because the memebers aren't as aware of what goes on in the temples and all the temple work. So, to show them how to do it, they used one of the accounts of a lady in our ward - her and her husband just went to the temple and were sealed in the Florida temple last week :) - and she had some names of her ancestors. So the guy should her how to prepare the name for the temple ordinances, and we sent them to the temple! The first names ever to be sent to the temple in the history of San Sebastian!! It was SO incredible to see and the Spirit was so strong, she even started to cry!! I have such a strong testimony of the missionary work that is done inside the temples and beyond the veil! The fact that we can help prepare with the temple ordinances of our deceased ancestors on the computer is just amazing!!! Do family history :)

Hna Watkins asked me the other day why I felt like I was sent to San Sebastian. As I was thinking about it, I'm not sure we always know the exact reason why we are where we are. What is most important is that the Lord has sent us to where we are. I have absolutely loved being here in San Sebastian. I have been able to witness 3 baptisms, the beginning of a change of a ward, the activation of a family, and I was able to spend almost 5 months with a crazy, fun Honduranian!! And to be honest, I can't even say that any of the success we had  was because of me and my companion. Yes, we are instruments in the hands of our Savior, but I know withouth a doubt that it is all because of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. How blessed I am that I have been able to seen the affects of it in the lives of others so early on in my mission! And I still have a long way to go haha! But our future is just as bright as our faith, right? And I have faith that the Lord is going to continue leading me to the people who are prepared to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Now why is He now sending me to Juana Diaz? Well, hopefully I will be able to figure that out in these next six weeks :) Wish me luck!! Have a great week everyone!!

Hermana Holt 

President Arocho and his wife

Sign in the Stake President's house

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 23: 5 months!

Hola todo! So I don't have a lot of time, but this week was alright! I hit my 5 month mark... can you believe it?? Where has the time gone? And guess what? Transfers are this next week! They let us know Saturday... haha kinda scared but excited too! And sad because Hna Sosa and I know that we will most likely be seperated! But, vamos a ver!
Anyway, about our investigators. Sadly at the last minute, Peggy, Vicente, AND Aurora said they couldn't come to church. I literally about cried! But, we keep going! They all said that they will be able to next week, but that's what they said last week haha. Positive thoughts everyone!!! But other than that, the lessons with all 3 of them are just so fun and great, they all really have desires to change and learn more and more! Vicente still isn't drinking coffee, woo!! Even though he said he has gotten more headaches haha.. but all is well! We have had more members come and visit Aurora which I know is helping her in receiving her answer. Saturday night we went over to Peggy and Vicentes to make dinner! Hna Sosa made what she calls Baleadas, which is a food from Hondurus, super good! So it was fun to just bond with them!

We had some of the other people we are teaching drop us.. but we have been blessed with Ismael!! So I kinda got the names mixed up last week, oops! Ivan is Ismael haha, his friend's name is Ivan! Sorry! Anyway, our lesson with him Wednesday was incredible! I didn't even know what to say! Since he can't see, he is so receptive to the Spirit. At the end of the lesson he just told us, there is something different. He said that he can feel it and just feels that it's true. It was awesome!!! But, sadly, he works Sundays. Gah! So we'll have to work with that too!!

That's all I have time for, love you all! Have a great week everyone!! Be excited to hear about transfers!! :)

Hermana Holt
 5 month mark
 So excited to hit 5 months
 Making dinner at Peggy's
 fruit from a generous neighbor
 How my companion cooks
Surprise visit from Sister Howell before she heads back to Utah