Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 80

Dear Everyone

Sorry this email will be short today. Such an awesome week... so dramatic. So crazy. So, Kim Su Youn didn't get baptized last Saturday.. She disappeared about a week ago. She didn't come to church last week and hasn't answered our calls or texts since then. We've tried to contact her several times each day but we haven't heard from her all week. It was really really hard at first. I went to the temple on tuesday with a heavy heart. but there I felt peace that everything would work out, and that we would see a miracle this transfer. It wasn't the miracle that I expected though.

Kim Seo Youn is getting baptized this week.

I can't describe adequately in words the emotions I felt this week.  
This last week her older sister got very very sick, with a severe kind of blood poisoning that was quite life threatening. We honestly didn't know if her sister would live. Kim Seo Youn said she prayed harder than she ever has that she would do anything so her sister could live. She said that's when she got her answer that she needed to be baptized. It was such an amazing experience that I'll never forget. We called her and cried and cried on the phone together. I didn't know these feelings were possible. I've never felt so happy. I know that through our trials and afflictions God humbles us and helps us see clearly, because that's what He did for her. Luckily her sister is okay. She is out of the emergency room and should be able to go home within this week. Kim Seo Youn already had her baptismal interview on Saturday. Everything is set. I can't believe it. I feel like its a dream. All the frustration we felt, the countless lessons, inviting, testifying.. everything makes sense now. Everything came together. Everything prepared her and now her faith is strong. She is set. I am so happy. Miracles are real. God answers prayers. I feel so blessed to be ending my mission with this feeling burning in my heart stronger than ever.

Love you all. 

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Week 79

Dear fam

All is well. I'm having a bit of a panic attack as I'm realizing I'm starting to experience the "last time" for a lot of things. Its starting to set in a little bit that I'm leaving soon and I'm experiencing a crazy roller coaster of emotions. But its all good. It was another great week!

We had a 'mission tour' this week. Which means one of the area seventy over our mission came and spoke to us. President Ringwood!! I was super stoked about seeing him after  the killer talk he gave at general conference.. and yes he gave us another killer talk this week. Wow. What a spiritual feast. I honestly feel like everything that was said was everything that I needed to hear. He talked a lot about the influence the mission will have on you for the rest of your life if you let it.. He talked about how important the habits we develop on our mission are and to never 'adjust' back to the old ways. It really helped me cope with some of the crazy emotions I've been feeling this transfer. But most of all I loved hearing him bear testimony of the Savior at the very end. There's a special spirit that can't be described when you're in the same room as a general authority and they bear divine witness of Jesus Christ. 

Things are good with Kim Su Yeoun. We're preparing for her baptism this Saturday! Pray that everything goes through with this girl! She is so prepared! She is still concerned about her family and boyfriend situation. Pray that it won't hold her back from taking the step of being baptized.
Kim Seo Yeon!!! This week she actually made a comment that brought us a lot of excitement. She said she really does want to get baptized before we leave. She's praying and fasting about it. I can't even imagine how amazing that would be. Such an answer to our prayers. But that being said, whatever happens will be okay. Because she will be baptized someday. So it doesn't really matter if I get to see it or not, right? That would just be a bonus. But whatever happens will happen! She says that everything as of late especially general conference has helped her faith so much and just assured her that she really is where she needs to be.

Other exciting things this week.. we had a really awesome stake music night. All of the missionaries in our stake performed special musical numbers. It was SO much fun. We performed a special arrangement of 'Abide with me 'Tis eventide'. Some of the other districts were more fun than us and sang things like 'Somewhere over the rainbow' but hey can't go wrong with spiritual haha. It was great a lot of our investigators came and really enjoyed it. Also the Elders had a baptism yesterday and me and 3 other Elders sang "My Kindness shall not depart from thee"! Yes mom, it was so pretty! It was just a really singy week.

This week should be great.. temple day tomorrow and I get to see some of my converts from Sinchon!! I'm going to lunch with Kim Dong Hee tomorrow, I'm so excited.. I'll actually be able to understand her now!

Welp gotta split! Love you all have a great week.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Week 78

Dear fam and friends and all you loved ones out there

I'll have to be honest. I'm really starting to dislike emailing. Only because it means another week has come and gone and its already time to email you again... Time is going faster than I wish it would. Anyways, it was a great week though! For lots of reasons... The Piano Guys! They came to Korea and we had a devotional with them last night!! it was amazing. We brought our investigators and they LOVED it. The music was incredible, and they bore powerful testimonies of the gospel.. It was so amazing. They cello guy, Steven Sharp Nelson, served his mission in Korea! So did one of the other producer guys. So they were so happy to be in Korea and see the Korean people again. 

Kim Seo Youn is still progressing really well and preparing for baptism. We had a really great lesson with her last week when I was on exchanges with Sister Neidhardt. We talked more about the role of prayer (that's what we focused on with her a lot this week) and how essential it is to her conversion. We asked her if she'd really prayed to know if what we were teaching her was true.. she admitted that she hadn't actually prayed to know for herself! She said she just believed it and thought it was good so she didn't see the need to question it! We talked about the importance of personal conversion. We said a kneeling prayer together and she offered the prayer. It was such a special experience. She's really excited to be baptized. She even started making her own baptismal clothes haha she didn't know we had some for her to use already.. whoops. What a sweetheart. She is so prepared. Her biggest worry/trial right now is just that her dad, brothers, and boyfriend don't want to accept the gospel. She wants so badly to live the gospel faithfully for the rest of her life. Her family doesn't mind that she's getting baptized and becoming a member of our church, but they don't want anything to do with it for themselves.. and to be honest they're kind of bad influences on her. They don't live commandment keeping lives in any way.. so she just keeps saying how hard it is when she goes home after church or after meeting with us and all the light she felt with us seems to go away when she's with them. She says its really hard for her, and I can totally understand that! I just hope she keeps pushing through and when she receives the holy ghost she'll get that strength and help beyond her own to stand strong always. PRAY FOR THIS GIRL!

We watched "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" with Kim SOO Youn this week. I realized that watching this with investigators is hard for me because every time I watch it I cry for a good 15 minutes straight after, and there's nothing I can do to control it haha. She was almost crying with me. To cheer ourselves up we decided to watch Elder Holland's testimony of the book of mormon (mormon message). It reminded me why Joseph Smith died the way he died, suffered what he suffered, did what he did. Because the book of mormon is true!!! I think it helped her a lot, I know for sure she felt the power and testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith when she watched it. She continues to progress. Slowly. But progress none the less!

 We continue to see lots of miracles every day. Haven't had any luck finding less actives yet.. But but my district leader said something encouraging in our district meeting this week. He reminded us that even if we don't find these less actives and the only thing we do is confirm that they have moved addresses, we are still doing something that needs to be done sooner or later! We are still doing the Lord's work! It's a cool feeling. Also it gives more direction in our missionary work. Instead of just going out to jundo for 2 hours, we are going to find the lost sheep and God puts people for us to talk to in our path along the way. It's great.

I've been studying a lot about prayer lately and yesterday at the devotional John Schmit said some great things about prayer that I needed to hear. "PRAYER IS REAL" and "The Lord doesn't say cry unto me for some of your support, or most of your support, but ALL of your support". Prayer is something that I easily take for granted. I forget how important it is sometimes, and especially how important praying with real faith and intent is (you'd think I'd know these things by now, how long have I been on my mission? Sheesh) Specific prayer brings specific blessings! Its so true! I love the Bible definition of prayer. It says something like "as soon as we understand the relationship in which we stand with our Father in Heaven, prayer becomes natural, almost instinctive on our part". God is our Father. We are his children. He wants to talk to us. All the time, every day, no matter what. 

Love you, have a great week and don't forget to pray.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매
P-Day at a cute fancy restaurant.

last night…Sister Lee (from Sinchon) came to the piano guys concert!!!! :) It was so good to see her

Week 77

Dear everyone I love!

Another monday is here and I'm sitting down emailing again, its unbelievable. This week was super busy and zoomed by in a blink. Mission leadership council was great and so was our Zone meeting. The focus for our mission this month is still the book of mormon, but we have an extra focus on less active work! We gave our zone the commitment this month to visit every member, active and less active, in their ward this transfer, and to share the power of the book of mormon with them. I'm excited, there's gonna be lots of cool miracles, I can feel it.

Kim Soo Yeon is progressing amazingly. She loves everything we teach her and accepts it all so well. Still preparing and excited for baptism on May 2nd. She's given up coffee completely and hasn't slipped once! I am so proud She would definitely be ready to be baptized before then.. She has already come to church 3 times if you include general conference and we meet with her 2 to 3 times a week.. But that's the day she wants to be baptized. because May is the 5th month and there are 5 people in her family, its special or something like that! Anyways she is doing so well. I feel so blessed that God put her in our path.

Kim Seo (so) Yeon (yes I promise our investigators aren't the same person mom haha). She came to all 4 sessions of conference and loved it! So that's great. She said she really came to understand a lot of things better. Before conference we had her write down any questions she had about our church or doctrine.. Her questions seemed to all be really specific and kind of weird.. Me and Sister Yoon were thinking "great she won't get answers to those" but the craziest thing happened.. for almost every one of her questions there was a talk that answered it! I'm serious! For example she asked that if among missionaries/leaders in our church if its some sort of "power game" or competition. President Ringwood's talk answered that one spot on! (which by the way was one of my favorites). It was such a cool experience and a manifestations to me that God knows her heart and He knew that this general conference specifically would answer her concerns. So cool. She continues to meet with us, read and pray and come to church. So yes she is progressing. To say she's excited for her trip to Utah would be an understatement.. literally.

So General conference was amazing right? I hate myself I forgot to bring my notes. but some of my favorite talks from the top of my head were Elder Ringwood, Elder Redlund(? the one about becoming true latter-day saints) and Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf. I feel like the 2 main topics hit were FAMILY, and the importance of personal conversion. Must be important or something. This general conference felt different to me than ones before. Everything just felt like it had more of an urgency to me than they ever have before. The general authorities seemed to be more direct and specific in their speaking than ever before. Especially with what happened on Saturday during the confirming and sustaining of the church leaders, when someone shouted out "Opposed". My heart shattered into a million pieces.. but in that moment I felt my own testimony grow inside of my heart that I know these men and women are called of God, and I will sustain and defend them forever! It just makes me sad to think those people went there just to do that. I feel bad for them. No hand (or voice) can stop the Lord's work. The call to be a valiant member of the church is stronger than ever before! We cannot be passive! We cannot be apathetic! We must defend and share our beliefs. We must live according to what we believe.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!!! Love you all. Peace out till next week!

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

벚꽃  :)

Week 76

안녕하세요 :) Hi.

I hope you all had a wonderful easter and conference weekend!! Easter was a special day. Its not really a big deal at all hear in Korea but there were some lovely testimonies shared about the Savior during fast and testimony meeting that filled my heart with the easter spirit. Also a ward member that served in Utah when she was young brough hard boiled eggs for everyone (not decorated but hey I'll take it). It was a wonderful day. I can't wait for conference this weekend! Every week is flying by faster and faster I can hardly believe it.. Its still unreal. I have so little time left but there is still so much work to be done! It doesn't feel like my last transfer at all. Thinking about leaving brings me to tears every time so the less I think about it the better. Anyways, all is well! So well. 

I told you about our Kim Soo Yeon last week right? Well she is continuously an amazing miracle and she's progressing so well.. I have been so blessed to meet so many prepared people here in Sanggye. Everything we taught her this week she accepted right away and has such a desire to change. We taught her the restoration and plan of salvation last week, and also the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. She has a pretty bad addiction to coffee. Usually drinks about 10 cups a day... and after we taught her, she quit cold turkey!! Taught her about it on Thursday and when she came to church on Sunday she hadn't drank one cup! She showed up to church a little late because she had such a horrible headache from not drinking coffee... but I just can't believe she even came! She was so sick! She is so devoted to this gospel already. She knows the change will be hard but she's not afraid of it. She wants to have an eternal family. She even found the mormon channel on her own and started watching the I am a Mormon videos.. and loves them so much. Something else I was really impressed by was when we taught the law of chastity and she said she wanted to start dressing more modestly, before we even addressed it. Normally she wears low shirts and high skirts, and she wants to change. And the best part is she is SO happy and so excited about all of it. As we teach her we ask her if there is anything she doesn't understand or is wondering about, and her answer is always "No... because I believe it all!" I have never met anyone quite like her.

Our other main 'progressing' investigator right now is Kim Seo Yeon. We're in the same boat we've been in with her for the past few months. She comes to church every week, prays and reads the book of mormon every day, and knows its all true. She's coming to Utah in July!! and they've already planned everything out, to visit missionaries, temple square.. she is so excited. She knows its all true. But she's not ready to take that step towards baptism. It has been a frustrating time with her, but at the same time I feel at peace right now. We know she will be baptized someday. Her biggest fear is getting baptized and becoming less active. She says she will not let that happen. So if that's her biggest fear I'd say things are okay. As long as she truly is doing her part in exercising her faith, everything is okay. Maybe this is the Lord's plan and for some reason she needs to wait a little bit longer. I'm not sure but I'll continue to trust in Him and pray for her continual progression.

This morning in my personal study I started the book of Ether again. While I was reading about the brother of Jared I realized why he is so cool! Because he built trust in the relationship! He was a faithful servant who kept the commandments and went to the Lord in prayer every day.. so when the time came that he asked for help to guide his family his friends and his people, the Lord willingly gave help... "and thus I will do unto thee because of this long time ye have cried unto me". Just like my investigators and the people I meet on the street here in Korea, the Lord respond when He knows he can trust us.

This week should be a great one! Its already time for another missionary leadership council and zone training this week! And general conference!! Yes spiritual feast week! Should be a great one.

Love you all, have a great spring break fam.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

District photo before the Elders transfer. Sushi with Nam Sung Won :) Yes. I paid too much for a few tiny pieces of raw fish. Okay

Got milk?

Week 75

Dear fam and friends

Well the new transfer starts this week. My last transfer starts this week. I can keep saying it and saying it and it just isn't real.... Sister Yoon and I are killing eachother! We'll be staying together for our last transfer and we're going home together.. I am so excited. I have heard its an awesome experience to be companions with someone that is going home with you your last transfer. We've set some goals to 'die strong' and to keep eachother going hard till the end. SO EXCITED. Also we are getting a new district leader who is parkour so that's sweet. I'm not kidding. Jeremy Carpenter everyone, look him up on youtube. MY DISTRICT LEADER!

HUGE Miracle this week!!! I would say we found a prepared person this week but that would be lying.. she found us! Her name is Kim SooYoun. She showed up at our english class on saturday, she found out about it through the internet. I talked with her after english class wanting to introduce the family english program to her, and she was all ears. Before I could even invite her, she asked if she could attend our church service the next day. She said that she has a lot of interest in our church. Well she came to church the next day, stayed for all 3 hours and really liked it. We had a great lesson with her after church where we found out more about her, and her desire concerning our church. She wants a new start.. she has had a LOT of really hard things in her life. She needs this gospel more than anything and she is ready and willing to accept it. Were able to give her a baptismal date for May 2nd. I feel so blessed to be serving here in 상계 right now and seeing the miracles we are. I feel like I do nothing but then God hands us these miracles, these people to teach and nourish in the gospel. Its amazing.

We went on exchanges with Sister Butterfield and Sister Neidhardt this week (the other sisters in our house). It was really good for both of them. I went over to their team with Sister Butterfield. She's been struggling feeling like she's a bad missionary and a bad trainer. I remember feeling the exact same way when I was training Sister Stancliffe. I didn't know what to say except to tell her how wonderful of a job she is doing, how much she really is helping Sister Neidhardt... She can't see it but Sister Yoon and I can see it clearly. She is doing a great job. I kept reminding her that Sister Neidhardt is her number one investigator right now. They're doing great. We had an awesome exchange together.. We were able to meet some great people and set up lots of return appointments.. one lady we met that day randomly called them the next day, wanted to meet, and has become their new investigator. Exchange miracles are the best! Wow such a week of miracles! 

Our amazing Lee Bom shared her testimony about prayer during our combined relief society and priesthood meeting  yesterday at church. Just about everybody in the ward came up to her after and told her how much they loved and appreciated her testimony. It was so excited to see the conficence in her smile and her eyes as they thanked her. Her faith is growing every day.. She's been doing great as always, but she does feel like now that she's baptized there have been more temptations to break the commandments than ever before. Well of course!! Satan is working even harder than ever right? But she's doing a great job not yielding to them. She is so awesome..

I'm out of things to say. Everyone have a wonderful Easter and general conference weekend!


Everyone watch this video. I love my Savior. I'm so glad that He lives.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

A day in the life. Great food makes things great.

Week 74

Dear everyone

Another week has passed and I can't believe its already p-day again... Time is getting shorter and shorter and faster and faster every day.. Transfer calls are already this Saturday? Its unreal! This was definitely my fastest transfer yet. I hope my last one doesn't go by as fast.. I'm not ready yet. This week I received a letter from my mission president that he sends out to the missionaries who are about to start their last transfer. It was such a great 'pump up letter' and a reminder to stay working strong until the very end. "Don't send your spirit home before your body" I am so excited to dedicate the time I have left to the Lord and leave nothing behind. I love this work and Korea more and more every day. The idea of leaving soon still hasn't hit me, and I feel like it won't be possible for me to leave this place.. I'm not kidding.

Our sweet Lee Bom received the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday in sacrament meeting. It was such a special experience. Like I said last week, I've never met someone as prepared and ready to feast upon the gospel as she is. She loves everything she learns and intently listens during all 3 hours of church. We're going to start the new member lessons with her this week. She wrote us the sweetest letters this week thanking us for helping her to make that special covenant with God. Although I wasn't involved in her teaching process for too long, she thanked me specifically for the principles that I did teach her, specifically the plan of salvation and about the temple. She is amazing.

Drama with our investigator Kim So Yeon..  She thought that seeing Lee Bom get baptized would be a good turning point for her, but instead she felt like it was so commercialized, it was something that wasn't sacred or special. We can understand why she would feel that way, Lee Bom's baptism happened really fast, it was kind of a crazy and stressful experience with lots of people.. but it was perfect for Lee bom. Kim So Yeon didn't think so.. She says her desire to be baptized went away for right now... but she will someday. I feel very strongly that she's going to for sure be baptized someday. Yesterday we got permission to go to the temple with her. She's been once with the sisters before, but asked if we could go again. Our recently reactivated member Sister Pak (who is basically best friends with our investigator) came with us, and we had a lesson outside on grass. Sister Pak is really struggling right now. She was baptized in 2002 and went less active right after but the Elders met her husband on the street last November and she's been coming back to church ever since. Anyways, she is having a hard time right now because she wants to have strong faith and be a faithful member of this church, but because of a lot of things (mainly family not approving) she feels like her life doesn't "match" our church. Before we could even say anything, Kim So Yeon bore her testimony to her and told her not to give up. Keep coming, keep praying. She said "I'm doing the same thing too right now you know, and I know that God will give us an answer." Instead of having a member present lesson, we had an investigator present lesson to our member haha. Pray for these 2 wonderful ladies please. I love them both so much and I don't know how to help them, but I know that God does.

Found some new favorite verses in 2 Corinthians this week.
".. He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

I hope this week we can all think a little less about ourselves and a little more about those who need our help. I hope we can all serve each other cheerfully and feel happy knowing that God sure loves us.

Love you.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매