Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 31: 7 months

Hola a todos!
Ok, so this week definitely took a turn on us! Wednesday morning my poor companion woke up with a terrible fever and could barely walk! She has Chikungunya. Chikungunya is a virus here right now in Puerto Rico that is spread by mosquitos and it is not a fun thing! So, we spent 4 days in the house. But not to worry! She is doing a lot better and she has been able to walk a lot more - my companion is a trooper!!
So, with that being said, we didn't have a lot of lessons this week, BUT we did have see a miracle with Morgan... he accepted a baptismal date for November 22nd!!!!!! AH! We are so excited!! It's so crazy because he really knows that all the things that we are teaching him is true, and he has the biggest desire to be closer to Christ. So we were super confused the last week when he wasn't super sure on a specific date. But at the end of the lesson we had this week with him, he finally accepted a specific date! So of course, we are going to working super duper hard that he feels prepared and ready! He told us that he wants to be super duper sure, so he wants to attend church. Pues, claro!! But, with Stake Conference yesterday and him having to work, he couldn't make it. And he told us that he would at the beginning of November he would move his work around so that he was able to attend. So prayers for this weekend! He said that if he can get everything done, he will try this week but if now, for sure next week. Woo!!
So we had Stake Conference this weekend and it was amazing! Elder Claude R. Gamiette, one of the Area Authorites of the Carribean Area, came and spoke! Wow, he was awesome and gave us a lot of excitement to work even harder together - members and missionaries. And really, the work of the Lord cannot be done without missionaries AND members. It's the truth! We are all missionaries and have a responsibility to share what we know and believe. It shouldn't be because someone is forcing us to, but because we have such a love for the Gospel, for the Savior, and for the people around us, that we want them to experience all the blessings that we have seen and felt in our lives! There is a reason that missionary work is something that is talked about so much. Heavenly Father needs our help in rescuing His children. There are so many people in this world who need the Light of Christ, who need hope. There are so many people who are praying with all their faith for something more. And that is something we have. Shouldn't we share that with others? I know that as members and missionaries work together, the Lord will pour out his blessings on every single one of us and that miracles will be seen. I hope that everyone will strive to be a missionary this week, whether that is going to a lesson with the full-time missionaries, or just sharing a testimony with a friend! As we learn here in the mission and I know it applies to everyone as well, no effort is lost - it is all worth something.
Anyway, that's all for right now! Hopefully lessons will be better this week and that there will be some more exciting news next week!! Have a great week everyone!!

Hermana Holt

7 months down (the piece of paper)
11 months to go (the number of people in the picture)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 30: Juana Diaz Round 2

Hola a todos!!
So, I'm staying in Juana Diaz with Hermana Escobar!!!! WOO!! We are super excited because guess what...? We might have a baptism in November!!!! We are praying super duper hard!! But also, we might be moving houses, so don't send me anything til I know for sure next week.
So I just have to start with our amazing lessons that we had this week with Morgan! Oh my goodness, they were awesome!! So our first lesson with him we taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he took it super duper well - he already has a ton of faith and believes in baptism and the Holy Ghost and all of that, we just had to clarify some things. But it was so great because we had asked him to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon the week before, and he read the whole thing and basically taught us what the chapter was about! He read 3 Nephi 11 and he said he really liked how it testified of Jesus Christ and taught about baptism and the Holy Ghost. And then he said, I know it's true. Uhh, what? He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon!!!! I almost died right there in the lesson! But it's poco a poco so we are having him read a lot more. So at the end of the lesson, my companion asked him to be baptized - and he ACCEPTED, but he first wants to be able to come to church and keep reading a little bit more! So that's a start and we are definitely working with it! So that was Wednesday. So we went back yesterday with the Elders Quorum President and taught the first part of the Plan of Salvation. Again, he read 2 Nephi 31 and really liked it!! Ok, what I love about the lessons with Morgan is that when you talk, he really listens and ponders what you are saying. His desire to know is just incredible! Anyway, so as we rapped up the lesson, we asked him how he was feeling about everything. Then, he began to say how the other day when he was reading from the Book of Mormon, he started to feel something and he knew it was the Spirit; and how when we talk to him and teach him, he knows that we are all telling the truth, and that he can feel it. I was almost in tears!!!! And then comes the best part, his prayer! Oh my goodness I kid you not, my eyes even though they were closed, were full of tears! He said in his prayer, that he has NO doubt that what we were saying was true and kept asking Heavenly Father for the knowledge that he needed to keep going in the Gospel. AHHHH!!!! Can you say miracle investigator?! We just feel so blessed for the opportunity to teach him!! Now, of course he needs to be coming to church, so that is something we are really striving for. We have Stake Conference this week in Ponce... so that's a little bit of an obstacle, but we are hoping all will work out! Hna Boaz y Ramos have a baptism this Friday, so we are invited him to that!! Keep him in your prayers!!
So, with Carlos, sadly he didn't make it to church this week but the lesson with him about the Book of Mormon was so sweet!! So, I'm not sure if I told you, but he has an eye problem right now so he can't read. But, we wanted to give him a Book of Mormon so that we he can, he will be able to read it! Oh my goodness, to see his face when I gave it to him, wow! He just held it and looked at it like it was the most amazing thing in the world!! Which it is ;) We also taught a lady named Virgen and she is such a gem! She lost her mom 4 months ago and so was a little emotional when we talked about families, but she sald that she felt something different and that she really liked what we talked about!! Woo!!
So, that's what we are working with right now and we love every second of it!! We are hoping for exciting things this next week :) The church is true everyone. We talked to a lot of people about the Plan of Salvation and families this week - which is my favorite thing to talk about because really, the knowledge that we have has brought me SO much joy. I am SO grateful for the Restored Gospel and for all that it entails. Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. Jesus Christ lives and I feel beyond grateful to be a representative of him. Have a great week everyone!!
Hermana Holt

On our P-day we got to take a trolley ride and tour Juana Diaz

 Enjoying the beauty of this place

The awesome foursome

Hermana Holt was here

I love being a missionary

Hi Mom and Dad, I found this old fashioned phone.  Guess where I am going today?

We finally got to go to the ocean

I love the Puerto Rican beaches

 Another cool statue

 They have black sand

I love these girls

Proud missionaries

Having a Titanic moment

 Say hello to my little friend

I think I'm gonna be ok

Hermana Ramos

Going on exchanges

Hanging on to Hermana Leonardo before she heads home.  This is our zone.  Do I look tan to you?

The Elders trunk at the trunk or treat party

the YW presidents son

The Stake President's wife and some young women

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 29: the work is growing in Juana Diaz

Hola a todos!!
So yesterday was a holiday or something here in Puerto Rico, so the library wasn't open to write! But this week we had some awesome lessons and I'm super excited to talk about them!!
So, first I want to talk about Morgan - not sure if I have talked about him yet but he definitely has potential!! He has a big desire to know the truth, which makes him super humble when it comes to asking in prayer! When we taught the Restoration, he took it really well and was super open to Joseph Smith. But earlier when we were talking about the Bible with him, which he has a TON of faith in, we knew he was going to probably have some trouble with the Book of Mormon. We prayed all week in preparation for this lesson on the Book of Mormon (to be honest, I was a little nervous myself) and luckily, we were able to have a member present. The lesson went SO well!! Morgan and one of the Hermanos in our ward had things to talk about after like the first minute and the member ended up teaching more of the lesson than we did! The member served a mission as well so he had all these explanations and stories that helped with the lesson! It was awesome!! And when we invited Morgan to say the closing prayer, and to specifically ask Heavenly Father in this prayer if these things were true, we all kneeled down and he asked in the most sincere way!! And, he should be coming to church this Sunday! Woo!! We are hoping for the best!
Another investigator with potential is Carlos! He is an older guy who actually lost his wife a while back, but has the most faith I have ever seen in one person!! He has complete faith that the Lord is control of every aspect of life!! So, that's of course awesome, and we definitely talk about faith in every part of the Gospel that we teach! He has been sick this past week, but promised to come to church with us this Sunday so we are praying!!
We haven't been able to teach Lucy and her husband yet and it's making me sad!! We were supposed to have our lesson Sunday but they had to go to Ponce, so hopefully this week! But get this!! So I don't know if you guys remember about Celinette, the YW who was just baptized, and that we went to go visit her family? Well, when we vistied, the mom was definitely not happy with us there.. but we decided to pass again and oh my goodness!!! We have NO idea what happend, but when we stopped by she was smiling and laughing and it was like all of us were old friends.. how crazy is that?! Crazy amazing!! And now, we have an appointment with them this Saturday :) It's super exciting!!
Well, this week is the last week of the transfer, can you believe it? To be honest, we have no idea what changes are going to happen this transfer, but we are both hoping to stay! The work here is starting to grow! But whether we stay or not, we are super excited for all the work that is happening here in Juana Diaz!!! Have a great week everyone!!
Hermana Holt

 2nd pair of shoes down

 Yikes! That's what walking and moisture will do

We decided to take Elder Uchtdorf's advice and enjoy the blessings

 Our Stake President's wife is so good to me.  She keeps me stocked!

 Hermana Escobar's birthday

 My district in Juana Diaz
Elders:de Oleo, Diaz, Sepulveda, Alfaro, McGary & Poroj
Hermanas: Yo, Boaz, Ramos, Escobar

 Hey look!  My mom grew up in Los Angeles

 I'll forever be grateful for the beauty of Puerto Rico

 My cute companion is always packing her pepper spray

These frappes are divine.  This one is strawberry guineo.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 28: "I'll go where you want me to go"

Hola a todos!
Well, I forgot my mission planner and now I feel like I can't remember anything that happened in the week haha.. but can we just start with GENERAL CONFERENCE?!?! Did you guys just LOVE it?? I definitely did, it was amazing! I can't even explain how grateful I am that we have a living prophet and apostles who guide us here in these last days. Their words are truly inspired words from our Heavenly Father!! I hope everyone will take time to read and study their talks again once they come out. I know that we can all improve on something and that as we pray to Heavenly Father, He will help us to know what to do and where we can improve! It was absolutely incredible, and I testify that ANY question that we have, we can gain our answers through Conference - through the words of living prophets and apostles. My questions were answered and so I know yours will be too. Wow!! I just can't get over it haha I'm pretty sure that us missionaries haven't stopped talking about it since yesterday!
So the work was a little bit slower this week, but we were able to contact a lot more people and we have some potentials, so hopefully this week will be better in lessons! This week I had exchanges with Hermana Ramos and it was so fun! She is absolutely hilarious and has no fear when it comes to talking to people haha and I mean none!! Haha I have been so blessed to work with sister missionaries who have no fear speaking, it has helped me a ton! In the process of the exchange I was introduced to two new less actives that we were able to teach, so we are super excited to work with them! One is a sweet family of 5 who actually got baptized about a year ago or so, but they are super humble and we are praying really hard that they will have the desire again to come to church! They have a daughter who is 16 who is more willing than the others, but we are hoping that we will be able to help the parents feel the spirit. The other one is an older lady and she actually got baptized into another church... last saturday... but! She lets the missionaries into her house so we'll see what happens!! Haha faith, right?
So do you know how in the hymn I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go it says, "...over mountains or plains or sea.."? Well, this week we DEFINITELY walked over mountains. Haha well what happened was, the other Hermanas told us that there was a road they hadn't been on that was now in our part of the area and that one day we should see what there is. Haha so we did.. oh my goodness it was literally just a one way windey road for miles in the mountains!! There were some houses a long the road thank goodness but it was insane!! As we kept going and going and going we ended up in an area called Rio CaƱas Arriba which when you take the main road, is about 20 min IN CAR from where we live... and we got there through the mountains!!! Yeah, my body has been pretty tired this week, but all the hard work comes with the name tag, right? So it's definitely worth it!!
Well, I hope everyone has a good week, my time is limited this week because the Library is full so they are kicking us off! I love you all!!
Hermana Holt