THE SOUTH IS REAL PEOPLE!!! This culture is nuts...I often wonder if I am in another Country!! Okay okay so there is like SOOOOOO much to say. Get ready for a long and random email! I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM A MISSIONARY! This is real life with real people and real stories and I often forget that! I love it though. First off, the mission home is BEAUTIFUL! The trees are gorgeous. Hopefully I can send some pictures! TREES, everywhere! Lightning, EVERYWHERE! The thunder here is like nothing I've ever heard before! Sometimes it goes for like 15 seconds straight and I wonder if it’s the second coming. Like no joke! Even President Jensen said these storms remind him of the storms when Christ was crucified. THEY ARE EXTREME! But I've stayed alive so far so that’s good! They usually wake up me and my companion in the middle of the night and we just laugh ha. So I'm in Lynn Haven which is a smaller town outside of Panama City! Let me tell ya something, the ward members feed their missionaries! We have had a dinner appointment every night since I've been here. It should start slowing down soon but I think we have one every night this week too. I have eaten some stuff I never thought I would before. First off, deer is really really good. I have had deer like 4 times. I think they go kill it in their backyard and then serve it to us an hour later. These people are straight up hunters here. Apparently beans are like the thing here. I have had baked beans in every meal which is pretty satisfying! They also give us dessert like lemon meringue pie, apple pie, peach pie, cheesecake, brownies, and a bunch of other stuff. I'm trying not to put on the pounds but it’s so hard! The elders in this area right now say enjoy this food while you can though because once you get out in the boonies you won't have it! So I think I just got blessed to be in an awesome first area! One of the Elders just came from Theodore Erik! He said he ate at the Phillips house every Monday night for 12 weeks!! What a great family, I want to meet them some day! Our Ward Mission leader took us to Golden Corral the other night. It was wonderful. Can you say MASHED POTATOES? I loaded up big time. We had chili at one of the houses and I honestly had no idea what in the world was in it but it wasn't half bad!! Okay onto the HEAT! HUMIDITY........wow. wow. Words cannot describe! IT IS BLISTERING!!!! Well actually that’s not the right word to describe it....IT IS WET. PURE WET! Riding bikes in this weather. Let’s just say I take off my helmet and it looks like I just got out of the shower.(sweat, not rain) Then I go inside someone’s house and it’s like the north pole. The temperature difference from outside to inside is ridiculous! I think I got frost bite from being in the church building for 6 hours on Sunday. We go running in the mornings around a big pond. It’s fun because frogs like jump and follow you! I'm basically in the state of bugs. We spent 45 minutes trying to kill two cockroaches in our apartment the other night. YES COCKROACHES!!! It was an adventure that’s for sure. Spiders, ants, birds, beetles, flies, moths, frogs, lizards, squirrels, stray dogs, stray cats, yeahhhh we got em all! The South I'm telling ya! It’s hard because my companion has been here for 6 weeks in the ward so everyone already is connected with her and loves her and I'm just like HI. I’m the new girl! Ha it’s kind of awkward but it will just take time to get to know everyone! My companion is nice! She is my age from BYU too! She’s a sweet girl and watches out for me so that’s good!! I have not received a package yet.........so yes my leg hairs are as long as Danny's right now. HOPEFULLY it will come today! Our mail comes at night so it’s kind of weird! My first night here I taught a scripture class....a scripture class.....I was like oh no....this is going to be a long 18 months but it wasn't too bad! So everyone here asks me what origin my last name is? It takes them like 5 min for them to say Holmoe right and I'm just like come on people! It shouldn't be that hard! I'm happy to be able to represent it though (: I think we are learning how to do Family History this week so you should be happy dad. Also, we can only watch like 5 movies and “Only a Stone Cutter” is one of them! So if it is lightning and we have bikes that day, we will watch it. Looks like I'm going to have it memorized! So we share the car with the elders so we get the car Tuesday Wed and Thursday and they get it Friday Sat and Sun and then we share on Monday! That’s how the transportation goes! The people here are awesome and hilarious but have lived SUCH hard lives and gone through trials I can’t even put into words. I think my favorite part is just testifying of the Atonement and letting them know that Christ has gone through what they are going through and is there for love, support, and comfort if they draw near unto Him. The first lady I ever visited was crying the whole time and super depressed. It was sad to hear her talk but luckily we share a happy and hopeful message. Another woman is on bed rest and told us how her kids don't visit or take care of her. IT’S SO SAD! MOM AND DAD, I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU! After seeing this lady, I'm like......okay that’s it. I'm keeping you company when you are old and sick! There is a family from Uganda that is less active. I love them so much. That is the work here.....less actives. We call them returning members because eventually they will! The next six weeks we will be focusing on the less-actives and bringing them back to Church. The mission is not all about baptizing but helping out the less-actives. So most our visits consist of that! ALTHOUGH....we have one pretty solid progressing investigator! Her name is Jasmine. She is from a part member family, 19 years old, and almost there! She has been working with the missionaries for a while and the last step is just for her to pray to see if she needs to get baptized! We invited her and everything so our next visit will be the answer hopefully. <3 I really like her. I do wear those bike shorts Mom because they are a necessity it turns out. I have to wear them or yeah! Tracting in the south is hard because everyone already has the religion they want and they don't care to change but I kind of like tracting. I think it is exciting. My companion hates it though and we don't usually have a lot of time to do it so we probably won't a lot of the time!! Which is fine because when it is hot it is NOT fun! I wear my backpack when I bike and it’s so heavy....cause I need my scriptures and my bike lock and a bunch of other random stuff. I may come back with a dead back but it’s okay! Everyone loves the bag Aunt Rhonda made for me!!!! I do as well of course (: So one day we did service at a less active members house and IT WAS CRAZY. We had to take all the furniture out, rip the carpets out, and wipe the mold off the walls and ground! It was gross but of course we were happy to serve! My hands smelt like Bleach for the rest of the day!!! My ring I wear every day also got stained which I didn't realize until I got home. It’s pretty gross so I may send it home and see what you can do with it! Don't throw it away but maybe you could clean it??? Or just keep it there. It feels so weird not wearing it!! But at the same time maybe the stain is good because it will remind me to always serve <3 They were so happy for the help we gave them! I may or may not need a 72 hour kit....or things to put in it....I’m not sure yet but just keep that in your mind for when I decide I need to do one. Maybe could you write me some good cooking instructions? I feel like I am going to get sick of turkey sandwiches and such! I'm set on dinner for the next few days but I know in a few weeks I'll need some good dinner ideas! So if you could write some advice in a letter that would be great!!! Nothing grand, just simple and easy but good ideas! It was awesome talking to you guys on the phone!!! Kind of hard.....but I was happy I could! I think hearing Miles voice was the hardest....I love that boy! I seriously love you all so much! You are always in my prayers! Mom, thank you for going to Karina’s farewell! Means a lot! Dad, I'm happy about Bronco and football and USC, it all sounds so good!!! I've been praying for you every day! Man it’s getting stormy outside right now AH!!! Mom, I’m not supposed to put any fabric softener in the Dri-Lux garments right??? Oh my BED IS MAGICAL!!!! It’s better than the beach room bed no lie!!! It feels so good and I fall asleep in like 3 seconds! The sheets are amazing, thank you so much for letting me have those!!! Our apartment is apparently one of the nicest in the ENTIRE mission! I agree, it’s great! I've heard there are some pretty ghetto ones out there! MY BUTT HURTS SO BAD from biking! It’s so weird cause the seat is so comfortable but I have like bruises! Apparently it happens to everyone and after about a month you get used to it! It is pure pain!!! I also am going to have thighs of steel because on our bike days we bike for MILES!!! I give up ever looking cute for the next 18 months. My hair is disastrous and I only straighten it on Sundays which even then doesn’t do much considering the second I step outside it FRIZZES like a mad woman!! Well I love you all! Please tell my friends I love them too!!! THE MISSION is hard work....but such an adventure! I just have to take it a day at a time because if I look at it like the next 18 months it seems unbearable....but if you take it each day at a time and enjoy the adventures and memories of that day then it is AWESOME!!!! I love the spirit I have felt and the testimony of mine that is strengthening! My prayers here have gotten so sincere and I can testify that He is listening, always, every second of the day! Pray pray pray is my motto! I hope I didn't forget to say anything but thank you so much for all the love and support! Special S/O to my relief society president from BYU who sent me such a sweet message! I don't know how to get a hold of you Mikilah but THANK YOU so much for that! It made my day! Thanks to everyone who emailed or wrote me. I appreciate the love more than you know!!! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!! Have an awesome time in SO CAL MOM AND DAD! Be safe! Hope you are having fun in Hawaii Danny and Carlee! Love you Shannon Robby and Miles! Erik, I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY THE SOUTH NOW! And I can't wait to experience more! LOVE YOU! Talk to you next Monday!!! <3 Sister Holmoe!!