Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 72

Dear family and friends and those reading this letter!

EXCITING EXCITING NEWS!!!!!!!!  We might be having a baptism this week! Our investigator Lee Bom had her baptismal date set for next Saturday, the 21st but out ward mission leader asked us if it was possible for her to get baptized this week at our stake conference! We had an awesome member present lesson with her after church yesterday, and we finished teaching all of the commandments. She accepted it all really well... I've never met someone as prepared as her.. She understands the gospel so well and has such a desire to live her life according to the principles of the gospel we've taught her. She is amazing. We talked to her about having her baptism on the 15th and she has no problem with it. The only thing we're worried about now is the fact that she hasn't told her parents about it yet. She's not a high school student anymore, she graduated last year, so she doesn't need their permission to be baptized.. but she says she doesn't know how they'll take it so she doesn't want to tell them yet. We talked to her about it on the phone this morning and told her to think about it and pray about it a lot. Hopefully she tells them soon.. Pray for her to have the courage to tell her parents, and for them to accept it well, and for her to be baptized this sunday!!! Her name is Bom, which is korean for spring! SPRING IS HERE!! And also the weather really is warming up!!

As for other investigators. Kim So Yeon. Oh.. we love her so much.. and she is so frustrating. She knows its all true. But she's still holding back. We met with her several times with her this week, had a great member present lesson with her and our relief society president.. She knows its true. She says she knows she'll get baptized  within the year. There's not much we can do but pray that she decides that's sooner than later. Sister Yoon and I want to see her get baptized so bad..  But really whatever happens, even if we don't get to see it, it will be okay. We went hiking with her this morning. she is the sweetest nicest and most prepared person I've ever met. She will get baptized someday. Nam Sungwon has been really sick lately.. She started school and her rigorous new schedule has been hard for her to bear. she didn't come to church this week we were able to meet with her this week once.

We had an awesome zone training and mission leadership council this week!! It was so spiritual and amazing, as always. Our mission's focus this month is revelation through the Book of Mormon. Best focus ever. We did something special this zone training, we had some time at the end for a testimony meeting, and it was amazing. I felt my own personal testimony of the book of mormon strengthen as I listened to the personal testimonies of the missionaries if our zone. I hope all the missionaries in our zone felt the same special spirit I did. It was wonderful. One of the commitments President gave us at our MLC was to pray for guidance on how we can more effectively use the book of mormon in our mission.  Last night we had dinner at the bishop's house and we shared with them the mormon message of Elder Holland's testimony of the book of mormon (watch it right now. ), and our personal testimonies. The bishop loved it, and asked us if we would share it with all the members we visit. We also invited them to help us and pray for us to know how to apply the bom in our mission. They willingly accepted. I really hope we can unite our ward together and see some miracles.

The book of mormon is true.

Things are great here. I'm so happy. I'm so grateful. That's all I can really say!
I love you all and I'm so grateful for the love and prayers you all give on my behalf.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Fun p-day pics! Bowling last p-day (yes I got a triple strike this week and I'm humble about it)

Sor bing su with Nam Sungwon! MOST DELICIOUS THING EVER. Shaved ice, cocoa powder, sweetened condensed milk. It will change ya.

Hiking this morning!

Our investigator thought we were freezing to death so she bundled us up before we could do anything about it.

Week 71

Dear Fam

This week was just one of those weeks where you look back and think, wow how did I survive all the crazy that happened? We had a lot of weird experiences this week.. But great ones too! I can't believe its already March.. Time is getting faster and faster with every passing week, its almost unbelievable. Everyday my heart is getting fuller and fuller with gratitude for the opportunity I have to be a missionary right now.. I don't have too much time left.. so I want to give my all to the Lord every day!

Right now one of our investigators has a baptismal date, Lee Bom. She is progressing and accepting everything so well. Her date is set for the 21st of this month. She came to church this week. She's so awesome.. Our other investigator that had a date has some issues that we have to figure out before can give her another date, but we're still working with her! As for our other investigators.. This week we had dinner and a lesson with one of our members and our investigator Kim So Yeon. We talked about a lot of things.. eternal marraige, living prophets, and obedience.. but somehow it all tied together and we brought it back to baptism. She still has a lot of fears and concerns about baptism but we're not really sure what they are.. We're having a hard time understanding her as of late. She knows its all true. She feels great when she reads the book of mormon and comes to church.. but she feels like she needs to know every single detail of the gospel perfectly before she commits to baptism. She's taking her time. As long as she's moving forward, no matter how slow it is, that's a good thing, right? We invited her to fast with us on Sunday, to try and get an answer about baptism. We need to talk to her about it more, but I pray that she had a good experience and that the Lord helped to soften her heart as she fasted.. As for Nam Sung Won.. She's been so busy and sick this last week. She canceled on us several times, we were only able to see her once, we visited her at her parent's cafe. She starts school this week and she's really nervous. She has been living at home doing nothing for the past 2 years so she's so scared to start this new busy life... and its kind of affected her desire to meet with us and progress in the gospel. She didn't come to church this week. She sent us a really long apology text last night expressing all of her stress and concern and told us that she's still praying all the time and trying to strengthen her faith, so she told us not to worry too much. So I decided to do that. I've been so stressed and discouraged about her lately.. but really, all we can do is invite and continue to express our love to her. So there's no need to be discouraged!

Miracle this week!!! Kim Ji Aey, a recent convert here in Sanggye finally came to church yesterday!! The first time since I've been here! She hasn't answered any of our texts our calls.. but she came to church with her 2 daughters Hye li (haha I guess its just Haley in english..) and Hye lyon! She's been going through a rough divorce, and I think things are finally finalized. She is so sweet, and she seems to have such strong faith. She is still in contact with Sister White, the sister that baptized her, yes my same sister white from Sinchon. I love her.. and I'm so grateful in her dilligence in staying in contact with her recent converts and people she taught here in Korea even though she's home. Such an inspiration to me! Anyways, we're going to her house for family night tonight with her and her daughters. I'm so excited :) 

Found a new favorite scripture this week in Romans. Verses 35 and 37: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?.... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Nothing can overcome the love that Christ has for each on of us. No matter what we may be going through.. tribulation, heartbreak, pain- physical or emotional.. whatever it may be, we can conquer anything through Him that loves us.. because He loves us, He suffered every pain we've ever felt. So He knows us better than anyone. We can be more than conquerors... We can become like him.

I love you all and wish a great week upon you all. 

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매 
Temple day! I love my comp. And I love long-ffles (a long waffle on a stick that will change your life) I HADN'T HAD ONE IN 6 TRANSFERS...it was a glorious reunion.


Week 70

Dear loved ones of mine...

This week was so great.. this transfer is off to such a wonderful start. I am having so much fun with my new companion Sister Yoon... we're basically soul mates. At the end of last week I was like geez my face is sore! I realized it is because of the amount I've been smiling and laughing haha. She is such a wonderful and hard working missionary! Sister Butterfield got her new trainee! Sister Neidhart from Germany!! Yep that's right, we've got such a diverse house.. a Korean, a German and... 2 sisters from Utah.. Why are we so lame? Anyways, our house is so much fun and we're all just so happy together!! I just feel so blessed to be where I am right now! I LOVE IT!

This week was the Korean holiday, Solnar. So we had a combined zone conference that was SO awesome. We got to watch the movie "Meet the Mormons"!!! It was sooo good. Everyone who hasn't see it, go watch it right now because its so amazing and life changing. It has given me a stronger drive in my missionary work this past week. Also it was just so fun to be able to 'watch a movie' haha I forgot what it felt like. Also I got to wear Hanbok!! Korean traditional clothing!! Pics to come....

On saturday we had a baptismal service, on of the Elder's investigators got baptized. 2 of our investigators attended, Kim Soyun and Nam Sungwon. They are both progressing very well.. but at the same time they're also stuck at a spot in their progression. They are kind of very similar in their thinking. And it doesn't help that they are really close so we think that they get together a lot and discuss things about our church, which can be dangerous, you know. But they both really liked the baptism service and have good feelings towards baptism.. but neither of them are ready or willing to commit to a date quite yet. They were so shocked when they heard that this young kid that got baptized had only been taking lessons for about 3 to 4 weeks.. they asked us "How could he do that? There is know way that he knows everything already!" We explained to them that he didn't get baptized because he knew everything.. but he knew enough. He knew that it was what he needed to do, and he wanted to do it. We have explained to them so much about baptism being the gate, not the final destination.. They know they are prepared, they know they know enough.. But to be honest they both still have a lot of doubts and questions.. But they are praying every day, reading the scriptures, coming to church (mostly.. Sungwon didn't come this week because she was sick), so they are moving forward.. even if it is little itty bitty baby steps. 

We actually have 2 other baptismal dates right now, 2 of the investigators Sister Yoon was working with that we brought over to our companionship, Pak Jongyoon and Lee Bom! They are both about 20 years old and they are so sweet. Their dates are actually set for sooner than they'll be ready because we haven't been able to meet with them enough to teach them everything that needs to be taught, so we'll be postponing them this week when we meet them. We are teaching some pretty wonderful people right now! I love them all. We had a fun Solnar party this week with all of our investigators that our ward mission leader planned (he is the BEST ever). We got together and played some korean traditional games. Our investigators all had such a fun time and it was just so dandy. 

Shortly another cool miracle this week: we got a referral from some Elders in another area, they met a woman who had lots of interest in our church, her name is Yoon Eh Ryong.. she said she wanted to come to our church service on sunday! We called her the night we got the referral and she said she would come! To be honest, we forgot to follow up with her again before church, we completely forgot. But she came to church!! and stayed for the whole 3 hours! It was such a cool miracle! She is a very religious person and has a lot of knowledge.. but because of bad things she saw going on in her church she stopped attending for the past year or so, so she wants to find out more about our church. Teaching her won't be easy, because she is kind of set in her knowledge and she comes off a bit prideful.. but she keeps saying that she has a very open mind! We are gonna meet with her again this week and I pray that the message of the restoration rings true to her when she hears it.

This week I got a special letter in the mail from my mtc teacher. It was a letter I wrote myself in the mtc.. My teacher kept it and told us she would send it the last few months of our mission.. Reading it was so surreal because I remember exactly how I felt when I wrote it, the hope I had to become a true disciple of Christ. To be honest I was nervous to read it because I was worried I would feel disappointed if I didn't meet the standard I had set for myself as a young missionary. Well I'm not perfect, but luckily I didn't expect myself to be perfect. I just expected progression. And if there is one thing I've learned about on my mission, it is about progression.. A continual striving to become more like the Savior every day, that's what matters most. We don't have to be perfect. God doesn't expect us to be perfect, but he does expect our perfect effort. When we humble ourselves and accept that, He can do wonders among us. Something my companion said this week to one of our investigators (I think the spirit prompted her to say it because it helped me more than in probably helped our investigator) "Humility is Spiritual confidence."

Love you all. Have a wonderful week and talk to you soooooon

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Week 69

Dear family and friends and everyone!

I don't have too much time to email today so I'll keep it short! Its been a crazy day! Today was transfers!! I sent of Sister Jeon and picked up my new companion! Sister Yoon Jung in! She and I have actually been living together for the past transfer, so I already know her really well! I LOVE HER! She is so chill and so fun. Right now I'm actually in a temporary threesome! with Sister Yoon and Sister Butterfield! She is gonna be training here in Sangye, and the new missionaries don't come in until wednesday.. so we get to have a 3 man team for a few days here!! I love Sister Butterfield, we were in the mtc together and we'll leave together, so I'm so excited to be living with her. It will be so much fun. Because Sister Yoon was in the other companionship and they had a lot of progressing investigators, she just moved to my companionship with her investigators. So we have a lot of wonderful people we're teaching right now, and I'm so excited for this new transfer!!! We are gonna see miracles.

Wow my mind is kind of drawing a blank right now on this past week.. It was so crazy! Sister Jeon's last week so we had a lot going on, we taught a lot of lessons and worked really hard! One of the hlghlights was going to a meat buffet with one of our members and investigators.. I still smell like meat but it was glorious. That, and Nam Sungwon is progressing so well.. She came to church on Sunday again, and we had some awesome lessons with her this week! Valentines day was fun! We had english class that day so we made cookies and valentines for all of our english class members, and they loved it.

Okay.. Well this was a lame short email and I apologize.. But you know, no time and all!
LOVE YOU ALL! Talk to you next week.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

exchange with Sister Lee Sungmi this week. we ate ice-cream.

Last Sunday! District pic! (4 elders are missing)

Reunited with Taebaek fam at transfers!

Goodbye old comp, hello new comp(s)

Week 68

Dear family and friends

Holy cow, its the last week of the transfer, and as usual with time, I can't believe it. Where is my time?? Its nonexistent. Next monday is transfers and I'll be getting a new companion! Sister Jeon is going home, its official. We sent all her luggage out this morning! Our time together was short! I feel so inadequate and not ready to take over the area, but luckily I don't have to do it alone! God's always on my side, and I'll have a great new companion! Sweet I'm set.

Anyways! Zone training!! It was awesome! We decided to try something new! We talked about 4 different parts of Christ-like teaching: 1. using scriptures, unity with companion, listening, and personalizing the message. We split up into 'stations', each zone leader and sister training leader taking one. I was personalize the message. I talked sharing personal experiences, using parables/analogies, and testifying. Wow it was awesome. Because our zone is so big, its really hard to get that one on one connection with the missionaries, but this experiment allowed us to do that! Almost everybody had the opportunity to share their experiences and feelings, and the spirit was so strong. In each station we had each missionary write down one way they could improve that teaching skill. At the end of the training, we had everyone pick one and specify it. We asked everyone to focus on that one thing this month, and to keep themselves responsible every day, by writing down every night how they applied it specifically that day.Also, we did a zone fast this last friday to saturday. After thinking and praying about it, we decided that we should do a fast for eachother. As missionaries we fast a lot for others, for our investigators, recent converts.. but I've never really thought about fasting for other missionaries! We fasted together that we would all be able to become more christlike teachers, a more christlike zone. It was such an awesome experience. Every time I felt my stomach rumble while I was fasting, (on any other fast sunday I feel the urge to complain and say I'm hungry) I thought, wow it is such a privilege that I get to suffer this small amount of hunger for the missionaries in our zone. I felt the spirit so strongly that day. It was an amazing experience!!!! Such a great zone meeting.

I went on exchanges with the Sisters the sisters in our zone who serve on the military base, so they're in the english speaking branch... So I was basically in America for a day. It was the biggest culture shock of my life. We were invited to dinner with a member family, and I couldn't believe it, we had nachos! Yes, real nachos with real cheese sause. I though that was just a make believe thing! It still exists and its real! Real cheese exists!! Afterward we were knocking doors in their apartment building and almost everyone that lived there was from america. I didn't know how to respond when they answered the door. I don't know how to be an english speaking missionary haha. Sister Ellis (the sister I was with) said that I was ridiculously awkward and I kept bowing to them haha.. Oh great. I've got a few months to try and de-awkward myself.. but I don't see that happening. It was so much fun.. but SO surreal!!

We had so many appointments cancel this. Which is always a bummer, but it was almost hilarious how everything fell through! Sometimes you have days, weeks, and sometimes even TRANSFERS where everything seems to fall apart, but the only thing you can do is to get out there and work! And that's exactly what we did this week, and it felt really good. We talked to A LOT of people. Our only progressing investigator right now, Nam Sungwon came to church yesterday!! That's the first investigator we've had at church this whole transfer! It was such a tender mercy and a miracle. She is progressing so much. This week she finally got accepted to a college, and she attributes that to her prayers and our prayers.. that is huge for her. She told us on saturday after english class! We said, well you better come to church tomorrow to show God that you're thankful to him then, right? She said "Yeah I think so!" she promised she would come if she could wake up... she doesn't have a phone, but we found out her house phone a few weeks ago so we called it in the morning, she woke up, and she came right on time. She stayed for the whole 3 hours. During relief society I leaned over and asked her if she believes in God yet. She says that when she prays, she truly feels that He is there and listening, but other than that she still has a hard time believing there is a God with all the bad stuff that goes on in the world. I didn't know what to tell her except to draw on the feelings she has when she prays, to remember them always, especially when she feels doubt. We're meeting her almost every day this next week before Sister Jeon leaves.. hopefully her progression will be speeding up even more. She leaves in march for school, so we're hoping and praying we can baptize her before she leaves.

Here's a great quote I want to share with you all:
Where can I find hope?
"Everyone of us has times when we need to know things will get better. My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness.. Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying.. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come... Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."  Jeffery R. Holland

I am so grateful for this knowledge. I hope this valentines day that we can all love others enough to share something greater than any amount of flowers or chocolates, even the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Love you all, happy valentines day this week!

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Week 67

Dearest fam and friends

Every week it seems crazy that I'm sitting at the computer emailing again.. another week has passed. I can't believe how fast this transfer has zoomed by, its basically over. Its been a great one and I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot about myself.. about how I want to be a better missionary.. about how I want to improve, about how I need to improve. Today we had such a wonderful missionary leadership council meeting, and we talked about teaching like the Savior. The focus for this new month will be "Teach people, not lessons". We have zone training (again, already??) this Wednesday.. I hope we can prepare an inspired training to pump up our zone. 

Well, we haven't had a single investigator at church this whole transfer. To be honest its been quite discouraging. 2 of our investigators specifically promise they'll come to church every week, and then they don't show up. This past week I was feeling so discouraged at church. I was filled with disappointment that for a 3rd week in a row when neither of them showed up. My heart was broken as sacrament meeting started. I didn't want to feel this way, but the thought kept coming to my mind "Am I helping anyone?" Why haven't our investigators come to church? We continuously invite, follow up, testify.. I felt that I really was doing my part... I'm fasting, I'm praying.. why can't they come? After the sacrament, our district got up and performed a special musical number to start out fast and testimony meeting. We sang a Child's prayer mixed with Joseph Smith's first prayer.. and as I was singing I felt the spirit so strong and the confirmation in my heart that I had done enough, I had done my part, and I was helping this ward. Afterwards every member that got up and shared their testimony shared about how strongly they felt the spirit during our musical number, and how grateful they were to us. That simple expression of gratitude changed my day around. Even though I was so sad our investigators weren't there to partake of the special spirit that I felt, Heavenly Father helped me know that I am helping, despite what I feel sometimes.

We had a few investigators drop this week, but we found a few new ones so the Lord is taking good care of us. Our most progressing investigator right now is Nam Sungwon. Its been amazing to see the transformation that has taken place in her these past few weeks. Really when we started meeting with her she had no belief in God or desire to believe. Her faith is growing every day as she continues to pray. Prayer has taken a huge role in her change.. she prays and feels lots of peace. Every time we meet with her she says her faith is growing stronger. She loves prayer. And reading the scriptures. Now we just gotta help her feel that way about coming to church!! She doesn't quite want to yet. Obviously, because she's not coming. She says its just too hard to get up. And she doesn't have a phone so we can't call her to get her up. She's accepting our message so well, she's just not sure if she wants to come to church until she knows its true, or until her faith is stronger. We talked to her about how we come to know slowly as we exercise our faith, using light as an analogy. She said it was a beautiful analogy that really touched her. 

Something that I love that President said in our training today: "This is God's work, Elders and Sisters. He can do it without us, but he doesn't want to. He don't want to do this work without us." It is such a privilege to be a servant in the Lord's vineyard. He wants me here. He needs me here. I am so grateful for that.

사랑해요!! Have a wonderful week.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매

Bowling last P-Day!

Temple day

Week 66

Dear family

And this transfer is over half-way done. Say it ain't so. Time keeps getting faster and faster and its freaking me out. But I gotta just keep making the most of it! This past week was absolutely crazy!!

This week we went on exchanges with some Sisters in our zone who have been having a really hard time getting along and working together.. One felt like she's been pulling all the weight even though she's a much younger missionary. The other felt like she couldn't do anything right and that her companion was always mad at her. We went into the exchange having been informed of the problem by their district leader. We prayed hard to know how to help them and what to say. Originally we had planned that I would stay in our area and one of them would come here, but last minute we felt prompted to change plans.. so I ended up going to the other area and working with the sister who is younger. Anyways, it was an awesome exchange where we were actually able to help them resolve their differences. My companion Sister Jeon challenged the sister she was with to bear her testimony to her companion. They texted us the day after the exchange thanking us for how much we helped them and that their relationship had improved so much over the course of one day.. it was such a cool experience!

We're seeing some awesome things happen here with a few of our investigators. One of our investigators in particular is progressing so much. Heer name is Nam Sung Won. Right before I got here she started meeting with the sisters. She started out with absolutely only english interest. No belief in God whatsoever, and no desire  to believe. Well its been really cool to see the change that has taken place in her as she has realized this is where she needs to be. She is so prepared.. its just a matter of time now. This past week she has been praying every single day and she loves the way it feels. She says she feels a peace in her life that she's never felt before. She says she's not just praying at night, but she prays in her heart as she's walking down the street, or whatever she may be doing. She is reading the book of mormon.. and she's really getting into it. We gave her the commitment of reading Alma 5 .. and to be honest I wasn't quite sure why we assigned it to her but it felt right. She read it and told us that she felt that God was speaking to her through it in verse 60 when it says that the Good shepard is calling you and you aren't listening... she said, I know that's me! "And look in the last verse it's telling me to be baptized!" I didn't know about those verses when I committed her to read it, but God sure did. She's so prepared. She's not quite ready to accept that fact yet. She didn't come to church yet because she feels that she wants to learn more about our doctrine before she starts doing that. Hopefully after we meet with her this week she will be ready. :)

We had interviews with president this last friday.. might be my last before my exit interview. Now that's crazy. It was great.. its always wonderful to talk to president and see how much i've changed. He challenged me to make some goals for the rest of the time I have left. It freaked me out a bit but I'm excited to keep working hard and hopefully keep becoming who the Lord needs me to be.
This week Sister Jeon finally decided when she wanted to go home! She's leaving in 3 weeks. So that was a good thing to decide soon. My time serving with her has been so short! I'm a little stressed that I won't know enough to take over the area by the time she leaves haha, but with God all things are possible. 

Sorry this email was kind of short! Tomorrow is temple day so our pday is tomorrow.
Have a great happy wonderful week everyone. Love ya.

Sister Holmes
홈스 자매