Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 35: Baby it's HOT outside

Hola a todos!!

So this week was probably one of the hottest November weeks I have ever felt in my life!! It's crazy to think that in a couple of weeks we'll be in December haha because it doesn't feel like it! But oh my goodness, you would not believe how much the Puerto Rican people LOVE Christmas!! In almost every house there are already Christmas trees, we hear Christmas music in stores and in cars of people driving by (Spanish and English), and the day after Thanksgiving they are lighting up the whole plaza with lights - which they have been working on since the 1st of November hahaha. And the great thing is, Hermana Escobar and I are totally fine with it!! We've already started singing Christmas songs with the rest of Puerto Rico :) And sadly, Thanksgiving hasn't even passed yet! We still aren't sure of our eating plans, but I can tell you that we are going to be eating a TON. The Puerto Ricans love their holidays, and they love their holiday food! 

So guess what?! MORGAN GOT HIS ANSWER!!!! AH I almost cried in the lesson!! Do you realize how powerful prayer is? And the Holy Ghost? As we go to the Lord in humble prayer, He will answer us through the Holy Ghost. What a wonderful thing!! He bore a little testimony to us and it was the sweetest thing! And he has been working super duper hard with the coffee, the desire is there! But get this. Haha you guys are going to scream when you hear this, because I almost did! He can't make it to church this Sunday.... NO!! But, we have to be patient and he said that he will do all that he can to make it the next week.. so!! Prayers and prayers and more prayers!! But he's doing really good :)

So we found some more people to teach this week so that is super exciting!! One is a couple that we found and the wife is seriously the cutest thing! The husband (well, we are pretty sure they aren't married..) is pretty receptive, but I think the wife is more interested! Haha she kept asking us a ton of questions and we really felt the Spirit in that first lesson. Hopefully we will be able to see them again this week!

Things are going pretty well with the less actives! Surprisingly, sometimes they are a little bit harder to deal with than the investigators haha but we are seeing some definite changes!!

Anyway, sorry this is super short!! I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving! Don't forget to count your blessings :)

Hermana Holt

P.S. Haha yesterday we had our primary program and I about DIED it was the CUTEST thing! Really, the testimonies of little children are so powerful and so sweet!! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 34: My testimony

Hola a todos!!
So this week we didn't have as much time to work as we usually do because a lot of things came up, but besides that it was a pretty good week! We had our Zone Conference and it was amazing. Presidente y Hermana Boucher really are the best! I don't even know where I can begin to explain the conference, but I just feel like I should share my testimony and the feelings that I felt.
Well, also I've also had a lot of spiritual confirmations this week about the importance of missionary work. I've been able to really think about and remember why I chose to serve a mission, why I'm here specifically, and what Heavenly Father wants me to do. Even with all the amazing and hard experiences of being a full-time missionary, I can't help but feel so grateful at the reality that we are all missionaries. As members, we are missionaries! We talked a lot about "finding" during the Conference. Finding those people whom the Lord has been preparing. Finding the people who need some more love and hope in their lives. Finding the people who don't think they can make it through a trial in their life. And haven't we all felt like that sometimes? And how grateful we are that we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ to help us through. That we have the knowlegde of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. To know that he, our brother, sacrificed himself so that we can one day live again with him and our Heavenly Father. To know that when he atoned for our sins, when he was feeling the weight of the world, he felt every single one of our pains, our sorrows, our temptations, our sickness. EVERYthing. I feel like sometimes we don't actually think about what that means. But he did it for us.
But what about the people who really don't understand the Atonement? Who don't have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives? Who are fighting everyday with the personal trials that they have, and wondering if things really would ever get better. That is why we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ - to share a message of hope and love that can literally change the perspective and the lives of people. Heavenly Father loves EVERY single one of His children!! He truly does!! And all He needs us to do is to open our mouths, to share what we know and love! Every single person needs the blessings that come from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, I've been studying the General Conference talks (we finally got the Liahona!!).. how BLESSED we are to have the guidance of living prophets and apostles!! This is something that we love to share with the people here and we know that it brings SO much comfort and is so spiritually uplifting!! This church is so absolutely true, it's amazing!!
It was a great conference - and guess what?! Hermana Boucher is the best haha she made me gluten-free pasta for lunch and gluten-free/dairy-free cookies for my birthday!!! Hahaha so delicious!
So we taught Morgan the Word of Wisdom this week and he took it super duper well!! We were a little nervous at first, but the only problem he really has is with the coffee. He hasn't had alcohol in a long time so that was a blessing! But it was so funny because as soon as we said no coffee, he kinda chuckled a little bit and said, Yeah, I already knew that! He then told us a story about how he, a long time ago, heard one of his friends talking about how Mormons don't drink coffee (haha maybe it's just a normal conversation here??) and he told us how at that time he thought that was crazy! But he then told us how he remembered how hard it was for him to give up alcohol - but he did it. And that now it will be a bit hard for him to give up coffee - but he has done it before! Hermana Escobar and I were in such awe hahaha he's awesome! And we love his prayers, they are so sincere!! He always asks for help in preparation for his baptism! So we've had to move his baptismal date to the 20th of December, but he is set on going to church the 30th of November and actually might be coming to our ward Thanksgiving activity this Friday!! Prayers for him! 
So Wanda, our less active, came to church again yesterday!! Two in a row!! And get this.. she walked to church, got there early (the same time as the Elders..) helped set up chairs and everything and was the first in Relief Society! We love her to death and she had us over for lunch after and showed us all her pictures of her baptism and the sister missionaries that brought her the Gospel and everything! She is darling! Hopefully we will be able to have more less actives in our ward activity this week!! It's going to be a hit!!!
Well, that's all I have time for right now!! I love you all and I hope all is well!! Have a great week!!
Hermana Holt

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 33: Activation and RAIN

Hola a todos!!!
Well, this week actually was a pretty good one, but November has come with a TON of rain!! Haha I remember at the end of October everyone was saying, oh once we are in November it's definitely going to rain! Haha they weren't kidding. Since literally the 1st of November, it has almost rained everyday!! Pouring rain and to top it off, lost of cold wind :) Haha even though it's refreshing that we aren't sweating 24/7, it's not the funnest to walk around with wet shoes hahaha but it's been a blessing!
So, I'm going to start with Morgan first. Things are definitely going well - he is still reading and praying really hard for his answer! He has been reading the Book of Mormon with the Bible too, which he says he really enjoys and he can really see how they go hand in hand! But, he won't be able to make it to church until he is done with his work at the end of the month. So, that definitely puts a set back on the baptismal date. We are kinda bummed, but we still feel super blessed for the opportunity to teach him and to see the changes in him already! He really has the biggest desire and he is actually super sad that he can't make it to church earlier! But we know that he is going to be a super strong in the Gospel, so that's what matters!!!! We do have a ward Thanksgiving get together in a couple weeks and he has plans to stop by so that will definitely help in his progression with getting to know more of the members!
So guess what?! We had a lot of success this week with some of the less actives! We had a change of plans, so we weren't able to teach all of the ones that we had planned, but we know Heavenly Father is still in charge! So, we met with a less active named Wanda. She is seriously such a sweetheart and we already have a lot of trust with her! The lesson was super spiritual and really tender for her. She explained to us what happened when she stopped going to church.. but even with those challenges, she still studies the Book of Mormon and prays everyday. And when she doesn't have to work Sundays, she does all she can to keep the Sabbath Day Holy. She told us that she strives to keep the commandments and to follow what she has learned as a member! It was kind of hard for us to understand why then wasn't she coming to church, when she knows that it's what she needs to do. But with the help of the Spirit, we were able to talk with her and of course did our best to invite her with all the love of our hearts and promised her the blessings of this commandment and blessing Heavenly Father has given us! She told us she would think about it. So the next morning, what do you know? There's Wanda with Sister Madeline walking into church!!!! It was awesome. She was a little bit quieter during church, but we are praying that she felt the Spirit!! We have another appointment with her this week! It really was a miracle.
We visitied another less active named Nellie. She is so darling!! She is 23 and only her and her dad were baptized. They have been inactive for about 10 years and right now her dad is in the States for work. So in the lesson it was just her and her mom, who is now our investigator!! But from what she explained, she knows a lot about the church and wasn't baptized because she wasn't able to make it to church a lot. But she has been to Stake Conference before with her husband and has read parts of the Book of Mormon! The lesson went really well and we are super excited to teach them! And we are really excited for Nellie because we are thinking that now is the time for her - she got really excited when she explained to us what she read in the Book of Mormon and said there is a lot of stuff that she is remembering. She just wants to prepare herself a little bit more before visiting church again. So, we are excited for them and are hoping that she will be able to help us teach the lessons to her mom!
Another less active is Rosa. What a sweetheart she is!! We were a little worried at first because she seemed a little hesitant with us when we made the appointment, but she totally was herself in the lesson!!! When she explained her baptism, we knew it was a special moment for her because of the way she explained it. I don't know about her, but I definitely felt the Spirit! But she has been inactive for 20 years now!! But little by little we are hoping to help her again feel the peace and the joy that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was super excited when we have her a chapter to read from the Book of Mormon, so that's a good sign!!
So, we have finally moved into the new house! I'm not sure if I've explained that situation a lot, but we had a lot of.. house problems in the other one hahaha so now we are literally about a 20 second walk from the church!! Super nice :) We had planned on moving on Friday, but we had to move it to Saturday! So yes, we moved on my birthday!! Super fun actually and my companions are so sweet because they decorated the house with streamers and balloons and did a little surprise with all of the district!! They even made me a gluten-free cake :) Then we all went to lunch with Elder and Sister Eakle from the office, who were there helping us move!! It was a good day!
Well, that's all I have time for!! This week I had a lot of spiritual confirmations about the truthfulness of this Gospel. I know it's true. The Church is true!! Jesus Christ lives. Heavenly Father loves us! Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and we are still guided by prophets in these latter days. What an amazing thing we are apart of!!! Have a great week everyone :)

Hermana Holt

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 32: A big surprise

Hola a todos!!

Well, this week was a bit of a surprise!! At first, it was a little frustrating because all week basically every single investigator that we went to, they either weren't there, or they had to cancel. So there we were walking and walking.. and walking, praying to know what to do. Well, Heavenly Father definitely knows the area and the people more than we could ever know! So, one day this week, we decide to go contacting in a neighborhood that we have only been through a couple times. So for a start, we took the ward list and starting looking for los menos activos! As we are searching for a street, one of the active members in our ward walks outside of his house, so of course we say hi and he invites us in so we can say hi to his wife! And to our surprise, with Sister Madeline, there is a less active that we have trying to get in contact with since the DAY we got here!! There they were just talking and it turns out they are basically best friends! We were able to have a mini lesson with them and we have an appointment with her this week :) What a blessing and definitely a surprise for us!

So we continue walking afterwards when we find another house of a less active. We don't even have time to say Buenas Tardes when the wife sees us and starts saying, awe hello!! So sorry, we don't have time right now but you guys can totally stop by this next week!! So we have an appointment with her (who isn't a member) and her husband this week! :) IT DOESN'T END HERE! The house across the street from them, we start talking to a guy outside and it turns out his wife was the other less active who we were looking for :) Hahaha so he calls her outside and we talked to her and have an appointment with them this week also!! Can you believe that? We have been praying really hard to find the people that can really help strengthen the ward. And it's crazy to think that the people that Heavenly Father wanted us to be in contact with this week weren't necessarily our investigators, but the members who for some time were in the church but for some reason haven't been a part of it. Not sure how all these lessons will go, but we are praying for the best!! 

Also, we had been praying all week that Morgan would be able to finish all of his work so that he could make it to church. And what a blessing that it was fast Sunday! Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make it and I kid you not, the SECOND we finished our fast, he called and had to cancel the lesson that was planned for that night. Are you serious?! I almost cried because I seriously was thinking, what happened?! So, we had a change of plans and walked a pretty long distance to the house of a contact we had talked to a while ago that said the best times were Sundays. And once we got there, nothing. Wow! I didn't even know what to think when my companion thought, why don't we go next door and ask. So, we went and a guy walked out and said, it's the Elders! Haha um, we are actually called Hermanas! Hahaha he was like, oh yeah that's right - I used to go the LDS church, I was a member for 7 years before I moved.


So this guy and 3 other people in his family were baptized when they lived in Ponce and was a strong member for 7 years, but he told us with some family problems, he moved here to Juana Diaz and just wasn't able to come to our ward because of work and because he said he didn't know anyone. So we had a really good lesson with him and oh my goodness he totally has a testimony and everything!! We have an appointment with him and his mom this week also, and he said that if he can, he will try to make it to church this Sunday! Oh wow, we are praying super hard for that!! The Lord also blessed us because we ran into Morgan that day and he said that we can stop by Tuesday! So all is well!!

This week definitely was a week of miracles with the less actives. They are still part of the work!! I know Heavenly Father is in charge of every aspect of it.

Saturday we also had a fun service project because it was the international day of service!! So every ward here in Puerto Rico had a service project and we got to help clean and paint a school for little kids called Head Start! It was SO fun and awesome and if the computer works I'll try and send pictures!!

Well, that's all for now. Sometimes the Lord directs us in ways He knows we need to go even when we might not want to, or we just have no idea why. Trust in Him!! It will always turn out in the best way, His way.

Love you all, have a great week!!

Hermana Holt