Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Week 61: City Girl

Hola a todos!!

Saludos de GUAYNABO!! I'm now officially a city girl and wow it is so different!! Luckily I'm still blessed because there are still trees like in the country, but I've never seen so many buildings and cars and closed neighborhoods! But at the same time it's nice to have a change of scenery. Now, I've had to change my strategies a little bit haha but it's all coming together! And there are BUSES here!!!! WOW I've never been so happy to see them and let me tell you, we are a little bit more spoiled here in the city haha but it has it's difficulties too. So far I really like the apartment because we have been blessed with a DRYER and AC!! I could not believe it when we first walked it but it's true! Buuut as of right now, we are on water rationing haha so every other day we don't have water.. cleaning and showering is a bit challenging haha but we are surviving just fine :) Now, the hard thing about the city is that most of the urbanizations are closed with gates so getting in is a little bit difficult. We usually just wait for cars but they either don't let us in or they just give us the dirty look haha but luckily there are some nice people and cool guards still that let us in! 

My companion Hermana Ahlander is from Utah and she is so cute and has a lot of energy to do the work! She is fresh off her training but she studied Spanish for 4 years before her mission so we are being extra good and only talk together in Spanish :) Well.. for the most part haha because there are a lot of people that speak English here; the only English ward in Puerto Rico meets in our same building so we see a lot of Americans often! AND we are teaching an English class which is pretty interesting too haha. Mostly members just show up but it's super fun! The ward is great, pretty small but they all have big testimonies and big hearts <3 Now let's see if we can get the missionary work moving :) I've officially been made the ward pianist and it's pretty cool cause Presidente and Hermana Boucher are a part of our ward too! We haven't seen them yet, but it's a blessing! 

My first week was a pretty good one! We don't have a lot of investigators, but the ones that I've met so far are super great and have a lot of potential! One is named Dessue and she's been meeting with the missionaries for a while. Her husband (well, actually boyfriend) is a less active and has been helping her learn a lot about the church, even though he doesn't go haha. They aren't married.. so that's our biggest thing right now. But we'll get there and I know that she wants to know if the church is true. She wasn't in town this past Sunday, but she should be coming this Sunday to church so prayers for her! 

We also have another investigator, Cecilia. She is so cool! She's an older lady who has been listening to the missionaries these past couple of months and Hermana Ahlander had told me that she wasn't so sure about the whole baptism thing. So, we read the Book of Mormon with her and we invited her to be baptized and she just said, Well sure - I'm doing this for something, right? I'm not here to waste my time, right?  RIGHT! So, we are hoping to give her a baptismal date BUT she is going to the states for like a month...... so. We aren't sure when she's leaving exactly but if we have to have lessons over the phone that is what we'll do!! 
We work with a lot of less actives here which is awesome :) We have one less active whose name is Dora and she is SO funny and so great!! Haha she just loved the fact that I was American so she could practice her English! She has so much faith and a really big testimony, but getting to sacrament seems to be the problem. She comes to Relief Society but then she leaves!! She takes care of her mom, who also is a member, but she can't leave the house for her health. But, Dora came to church on Sunday and we have gained a lot of trust with her real fast which is great :)

I'm really excited and I already know that Heavenly Father really loves this area of Guaynabo! Now, it's just a matter of finding the people that are prepared, and we know they are there!!

I know this church is true and that Heavenly Father loves us SO much!! Remember to be aware of the blessings that are given to us everyday - they are there! Have a great week!

Hermana Holt

 matching shirts

We loved serving together

 My new companion Hermana Ahlander

 She's a cutie

living in the city

 people are so good to me and bring me gluten free food

 my new city

 district activity at La Marquesa

 hello birds

 I'm pretending I'm not scared

 look how close I am

 our district

crazy kids
My MTC companion Hermana Van Kammen
We both hit 14 months

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 60: Hola Guayanabo! Nice to meet you!

Hola a todos!!

Well, this week I'm pretty sure everything you could think of happened! First of all, we have transfers and.. I'm off to GUAYANABO!! It's near San Juan, so close to the mission home and from what I've heard it's definitely a lot more city. But, we'll see what part we actually live. So no more ocean from what I know, but a new atmosphere so we'll see what happens! Mi hija Hermana Lopez is going to take on Arecibo, and she is going to do absolutely amazing!! She is completely prepared and has a lot of work set out for her; but she definitely won't be doing it alone because she is going to be in a TRIO!! Can you believe that?? The mission has had a lot of changes, apparentely 24 missionaries are going home this transfer and of course more are coming in! 

I think Heavenly Father told me without me realizing it that I was going to Guayanabo haha here is what happened! A contact had given us some pasta de guayava which is from a fruit here and Hna Lopez asked me, What's this called? Pasta de Guayanabo? Hahaha I was like, no Guayanabo is a city here! And the crazy thing is, she's never heard of Guayanabo!! So as soon as she said that I thought, haha that would be funny . . and it happened! So here we go :) 

So talking about this week, like I said, we experienced a bit of everything. A lot of success, a lot of rejection, a lot of small miracles, and a lot of faith trying moments. But I've come to realize that really no matter how many bad and hard moments there are, they just all seem to disappear as we focus on the good we are given! And the Lord blessed us a lot this week.. because.. we have a BAPTISMAL DATE with Kayla!!!!! Yayaya!! I've never seen someone so willing to change and to be baptized! She is working for the 6th of June and we are super excited :) Yes, it's going to be a little hard not to see it, but I am confident that Hna Lopez is going to work miracles here! Also, we found 2 other new investigators this week who are both willing to be baptized as well, how great is that?? One is a college student who is truly looking for the truth, and she told us that with just reading about the Restoration and some of the Book of Mormon, she feels like she's found it. LIKE WHAT?! I am so excited for what Heavenly Father has in store for Arecibo. I know He loves the people here and it has been amazing to feel just a little bit of the love as a missionary! 

I don't have too much time but we also had our Zone Conference this week with Presidente Cornish, who is presidente of the Carribbean Area! It was incredible and he gave us a lot of good ideas and tips to better work with the members and how to help the investigators come to their own conversion. I testify that the Lord speaks through His servants!! How grateful I am for that.

Well, on to a new adventure! How amazing it is to know that no matter where we are or where we go, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always the same!! So, here I go to teach the people of Guayanabo! Wish me luck!!

Hermana Holt

 waiting for more than an hour to skype the family

 so happy to see their faces

 Hma Lara and Hma Lopez at zone conf.
 pretty in pink

 Juan and Isabel

 our first time trying sunflower seeds

 youth activity

 ward members cheering

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 59: The final call home

Hola a todos!!

Well, this past week was a great one, with many miracles, and it ended SUPER because I got to see you guys!!!! How grateful I am for technology that allows us to see each other even though it's just 2 times a year!! And it's absolutely crazy because I'll actually get to see your faces in person in less than 5 months!! I don't think I've ever felt time go by so fast!! 

Well, you guys won't believe what happened this week! Hna Lopez and I truly saw and felt the hand of the Lord guiding us to 2 new people that we are teaching :) The first one is Kayla! She was a reference from the Elders that we have been trying to contact for weeks put her phone never worked and whenever we passed by (and she does not live close haha) she wasn't there. SO! One of the members came with us to a lesson but right as she picked us up, the investigator that we were going to go with canceled. Pues, ok then! So then I thought, well lets take advantage that we have a ride and lets stop by with Kayla and see if she's home.. and she WAS! The lesson that we had with her was amazing. Super duper spiritual and she is super prepared! She's a single mom with a 5 year old son who is the cutest thing!! The Elders had passed by like one or two times so she already knew a little bit of the Restoration. So we got to know her a little bit and she started to tell us how she is ready to change and how she wants to help her son and raise him in the right paths, well that's perfect because we can help her with just that :) We testified strongly on the families and how the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ can change us and when we invited her to be baptized, she accepted!!! Woo!!! So she has a lot of potential :) She should be coming to church this week!

Our other miracle investigator is Joliana! We stopped by a members house to get our hair trimmed and the members best friend, Joliana, had stopped by in the exact moment that we got there.. :) Coincidence?? The member had told us that Joliana had been asking her in the passed couple of weeks why the member kept saying that her family is a forever family. Perfect! So we got to know her a little bit, super casual, and then she started to tell us that it had caught her attention because the church that she is attending right now teaches that after we die, we aren't going to recognize anyone, we aren't going to know our families. Saying that outloud really hit her hard because then she started to cry and told us that she can't imagine not remembering her 2 daughters and that it didn't seem right. Wow, how grateful I am for the knowledge we have that our families can be together forever, and that Heavenly Father makes that possible! And we taught and testified of just that :) The spirit was super strong and she is super receptive to the spirit!! We have another lesson with her this week and we are super excited!!!

I love the Gospel.

Tomorrow we have our Zone Conference with Elder Cornish! It's going to be with 3 other zones and almost an all day thing so we are super duper excited :) And also tomorrow we have our Member Missionary activity!! Wish us luck!!!! We have been preparing really hard for this and feel that the Lord has even guided us in our plans. Well, that's all I've got right now!! This week is my last week training Hermana Lopez, I can't even believe how fast the time has gone.. she is an amazing missionary and I have been so blessed to spend these past 12 weeks with her. We'll see what the transfers bring this next week! Have a great week everyone!! 

Hermana Holt

 Happy Mother's Day!

Sweet companions

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 58: The Creator Knows us

Hola a todos!!

Sorry I'm writing so late, this morning we had a Zone Activity! It was here in Arecibo and we went to La Cueva del Indio! Hna Lopez and I had already been before, but it was fun to go with the Zone! We had our personal study right on the beach, explored the caves, and then went to go eat after! It's great to see other missionaries and share with each other what we've been learning and what's been happening in our areas! We are definitely one big team, and that's the most important! 

This week was a little low on lessons but we've been doing our best to brighten our faith! We ran into an old investigator and happened to pass by in the perfect moment when she was cleaning her house, service!! Woo! And it definitely paid off because we got to share a super good lesson at the end, reminding her of the Restoration and of the Book of Mormon, which she recommitted to read! We hope and pray that she'll be ready this time..

We couldn't teach our two investigators this week, Yesenia nor Ana and we are dying to see them!! Everyone seemed to have a lot of crazy things this week, but we know this next week is going to be a good one :)

Our less active Carmina came to church again!! YAY!! She's such a sweetheart and I am so blown away as I see her humble example of coming back to our Savior Jesus Christ. Her coming back has really pumped up the ward and they've become really involved with her, it's a great thing to see!! Speaking of the ward, Hermana Lopez and I talked with the Bishop and he allowed us to have a mission activity with the members, to see if we can get them a little bit more excited to do missionary work :) Us missionaries are planning a great activity full of Preach My Gospel, practicing, and sharing of testimonies! Most of the members in the ward are coverts so I know that as they share their experiences of when the missionaries first knocked on their door, not only will it strengthen all of us, but I feel like it will strengthen them personally and get them excited to share this happiness with everyone! The activity is next week, so we'll see how it goes!

I just want to testify of something super special that Heavenly Father reminded me of this week, that He knows us. He, the Creater of all things, KNOWS us and is so aware of what we are going through at this point in our lives. He cares about everything we care about. He knows what we need and wants to help us achieve it. I have been so blessed this week through the example, words, and testimonies of the people I have talked to. He knows me. He knows you. And He knows that we need His son Jesus Christ. That's why He sent him to us :) 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!! And for all the mother's out there, Happy Mother's Day this coming week!! 

Hermana Holt
studying at the beach
Picture of a picture with Yesenia's kids

What a view

Love my little girl

My district

Visiting the caves again