Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 29

December 30, 2013 (last time I'll ever type 2013!) ah!

What a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas I had!! Of course the ultimate present was SKYPING!! Seriously that was one of the funnest things I've ever done!  I love my family! (:  If only I got to Skype Kait, Ka, and Ser too! At first I thought it would be hard to Skype but boy was I wrong, it was simply the greatest thing!!! Y’all looked SO good!!  #familiesareforever (:

Not too much to say since we talked a lot on Wednesday but we did have some cool experiences since then!  Of course we had some awesome lessons with Ashley.  She is still progressing and getting more and more excited for the 11th!  She tried on the dress she’s going to wear in the font and it’s really really pretty!!  CAN’T WAIT!  At one of our lessons Brianna, the less active friend, PRAYED OUTLOUD.  Everyone about cried.  Such a cool moment.  We actually shared the story of the prodigal son, so it’s funny you brought that up in your email Dad!! Daddy daughter telepathy right there!!

I think I jinxed myself on Skype when I said we haven't come across TOO many bible bashers because the very next day, BAM...the bible bashers were out to get us!  But like I said, I rather enjoy those conversations!  We did meet some cool new people that day as well.  For example, a member was going teaching with us and we passed a boiled peanuts stand and I told her that my brother told me I had to try boiled peanuts from a stand one day and she was like, "WHAT? You never have???"  She immediately pulled over and long story short, the guy working there, Devante, is super interested.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and when we drove past again like 20 min later we saw him reading it!! Looks like I'll be eating some more boiled peanuts over the next few weeks, which by the way....ARE GROSS hahaha!  The texture is just ratchet!  ;)

We also have a sweet neighbor named Pat, an older catholic lady.  We have always felt like we've wanted to teach her so the other day when we brought her over some goodies, we introduced the BOM and she said she would be open to learning what we believe and invited us over on Tuesday.  We are STOKED to at least get in her apartment and start teaching her a little! She is the best!!

Speaking of apartment complexes, funny story!  On Friday night, there was a HUGE concert/party behind our apartments and I'm talking WILD!  It was so loud and all the popular songs were playing haha.  Let’s just say, "Flo-rida" and Ludacris were singing us to sleep ha.  Sister Sam and I were dying of laughter!!

We also ran into a former investigator of mine and Sister Stanfields named Kimberly.  She looked so different, I hardly recognized her but it was awesome to talk with her and remind her of us and the spirit we carry.  We had a long discussion.  She’s still not ready at this time in her life, but it was still great to talk with her!! Crazy how we randomly ran into her as well! 

Update on Carolyne.  She still wants to be baptized on Saturday and she went 3 days without smoking, but broke it yesterday.  She doesn't think she'll be able to quit by Saturday so it will probably be pushed back again.  Stinking smoking haha!! A miracle will have to happen for her to quit, so it’s a good thing that MIRACLES HAPPEN! 

Grandma Johnnie sent me the nicest note and check!  I'll be mailing that home today along with Papa’s.  I've always loved that woman! 

Thank you again for all my Christmas presents! I LOVE MY CLOTHES haha!!  All of them! Even the Express blouse ;)  The head massager has definitely come in great use during nightly planning! The pillow mist is amazing!  Excited to use my new calendars! 

As 2013 wraps up I am just so grateful for what an amazing year it has been!  From winter semester at BYU, to all the fun trips after, and then the first 6 months of my’s been a year to remember!!! I'm so excited for 2014, to continue pressing forward in the work leaving with no regrets and then beginning the transition back to education!  So many things to look forward to and so many surprises awaiting me!  BRING IT ON BABY!!  Have a wonderful New Years Eve y’all!! LOVE EVERYONE! <3/ Sister LA girl!!

free subway breakfast on Christmas Eve with Sis Greninger!

 Acting out the nativity with the Vinings!  Cute family!
 Sheena took us to the walking part in downtown PC! It's a pretty park right by the bay!

 Lights on Christmas Eve

 Bishop's daughters at a Christmas Eve Campfire

 Christmas Eve PJs

 Christmas Morning
 Love the pillow!
Aunt Rhonda's wayyy cute outfit!!
 me and Sophie :)
 backing out with these sweet light saver things a member gave us!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 28

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! woot woot! What a FUNNN time this is seriously!! I lovvvved all the pics and videos y’all sent me! SO FUNNY! The fashion show...classic!! Y’alls PJ's were BOSS this year!! Looked like so much fun!!! Now in Cali already! #GOCOUGS!

Where to begin, where to begin.......The half mission conference was AMAZING!  It was a blast!  It honestly felt like a huge family reunion! (pictures coming your way)!  We had a musical program and guess who in the world SANG!? MEEE...hahaha I know what a joke right!? But seriously I did!  I sang an arrangement to "I Know my Redeemer Lives" with 4 other sister missionaries!  It sounded pretty good! I basically just stood and looked cute ha (: It’s all about the lip sinking haha!  Then we had a stocking exchange which was sweet!  Cute Sister Dawe had me (: love her!  I had one of the senior missionaries!  I made a good stocking for her!! It was just so good to see old friends and have the Christmas spirit!  Our Relief Society had ham, potatoes, and pies for us. Delish!  It was also good to be around President and Sister Smith!  I had to say the closing prayer...I felt like I was saying the General Conference prayer there was so many people there!  Mom, I had to time it perfectly when to walk up at the end of the song.  Do you remember when we used to decide when people should go up!? I finally had to do it!

Ashley is getting baptized Jan 11, 2014 (: WHOOO. SO so excited for her!  We had some amazing lessons this week and she knows it is right for her.  We took her to a baptism on Saturday and it confirmed to her it’s what she wants!  Then the Copelands brought her home her very own quad with her name engraved on it from Orlando!  She was SO happy! Then she asked Austin (17) to baptize her and he just cried and cried.  BEST MOMENT!  Sister Sam and I won some money from the mission office for turning in receipts on time and so we all went out to get some Japanese food on Friday (:  It was fun!  Ashley’s bomb!

We had some SWEET church tours this week!  One was with a part member family who really has not been to church for 10 plus years.  The lady who is a member hasn't prayed for us since we met her but at the end of our church tour we asked her AGAIN, and this time...SHE DID IT.  It was a beautiful prayer and she cried at the end.  We all sang "I am A child of God" in the chapel and the spirit was so strong it was unreal!  Then they came to church on Sunday for the first time.  Did I mention we had 8 investigators at church on Sunday????  8 investigators!!! That's not even counting all the many less actives that showed up as well!  Christmas brings out the best in people I'm telling ya!!! What a sweet program we had and a very very full chapel! But anyways, you had some questions about the church’s a worldwide thing I believe but our stake is really involved with them.  We designed flyers on the computer and pass them out with time and dates on them to everyone.  We've given tours to members, nonmembers, less actives, whoever.  We try to encourage the members to invite friends and neighbors.  It’s pretty fun to do!!  Every church tour has been a good experience so far!

Some fun memories this week:
-a lady in our ward making ME sing a embarrassing haha.
-Caroling with the YSA's last night!
-A less active member crying to us as she says "I know God specifically sent you two to me."   I mean, it’s moments like that that are just SOO indescribable!!

-We were out proselyting and this man was talking to us and he said he thinks it is so amazing how some athletes leave their scholarships to go do what we do.  He said one time when he heard that on ESPN or something he went and looked up the Mormons.  He told us he would be interested in us teaching him what we believe in so he could understand better why athletes choose to take a 2 year break!  It was great!! We are going back soon!  He said he liked the cougs ;)

The members continue to just give us gifts upon gifts!  We got handmade slippers, handmade scarves, necklaces, and more! It’s amazing.  So grateful to be here.

So for Skyping on Christmas, WHICH I AM SO EXCITED FOR!!!!!!, the Morses are planning on picking us up around 1 o clock my time and then skyping anywhere from 1:30-3:30 my time.  Not sure who is going first between me and Sister Sam or anything but plan on any time from there! What is y’alls Skype accounts?? So as far as I know that is the plan.  If it changes, someone from the ward is bound to call y’all and let you know!!  Hopefully it all works!! 

THANK YOU to everyone who has sent me Christmas cards! Shout out to BYU athletics, Gunn Family, Shelly Reynolds family, and Papa Joe!  Made me so happy to receive them in the mail!! I love y’all!!!! Well I'll close for now because we can just talk on Wednesday!!!! Text or call Sister Morse if you have any questions (:

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3/ Sister Lauren Holmoe!

 Sister McCan spoiled us!  How rad are these?!?!

 So good to see Sister Wells!
 Love these girls!
 MTC Friends
 4 Generation Pic; grandma, mom, me, daughter
 MTC Elders
 Sister Dawes
 Me and Sister Brigham, one of my all time favorite sisters!
 Me and Elder P Davis!
 Japanese Food with Ashley
 The scarf and headband someone gave me!
 Carolyne's Family
 Caroling with the YSA's

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 27

Hey Y’all!!

Words cannot even begin to describe the happiness that this week has brought!!  I always thought Christmas away from home would be one of the harder times but I must admit this is the best time on my mission thus far!!!! Each and every day this week brought more and more happiness.  It’s really just unreal!  Hard to describe in an email!

I'll start off with our investigator Ashley.  This girl is one of those Golden Investigators that every missionary dreams of having.  She is the 18 year old girl who is friends with members of our ward.  Anyways we had two of the most amazing lessons with her this week, probably two of my favorite of my entire mission.  Even thinking back to them makes me get emotional because they were such spiritual moments!!!  This girl is AMAZING.  She is so easy to teach because she soaks it all in, asks awesome questions, has goals, keeps her commitments, and loves learning.  We have the lessons at the Copeland’s and hearing them testify in places is just cool!!  Heavenly Father has been preparing this girl her entire life for her to find the church.  She has a strong testimony that everything happens for a reason and it’s so cool.  She came to our RS night on Thursday, the ward Christmas party on Saturday, church on Sunday (and choir practice after) and the YSA fireside on Sunday night.  She also cancelled our lesson for tomorrow night so she could go to FHE with the other YSAs???? I MEAN COULD IT BE ANY BETTER??  Sister Sam and I are nervous that something bad is going to happen because we are not used to investigators acting like this! It’s pretty cool because for the past year she has been following this blog of a Mormon family.  She didn’t know they were Mormon originally.  Anyways she reads the blog daily because she loves how happy they after the two lessons we had with her she told us how she typed an email of how much their blog has changed her life and given her a direction.  She doesn’t even have their email but she just felt the need to type it.  Ashley’s prayers are DYNAMITE.  She was SO nervous at first, but she did it and WOW....coolest moment!  It’s also SOOO good for these lessons to be given in the Copeland home! We are hoping to get a BCD (baptismal commitment date) this week....DUN DUN DUN..........pray pray pray for us.

On Saturday was our ward Christmas Party!   It was so much fun.  Sister Sam and I basically planned the entire thing but it turned out great!! I love this ward.  Like 5 people have given me and Sister Sam wrapped presents for each of us!  Last night this lady gave us presents and we couldn't wait till Christmas so we opened them....THE NICEST GIFTS EVER!  She got Sister Sam these big stud earrings because that’s what Sister Sam just LOVES and then she bought me a fabric headband because I always wear those!! This lady has never even talked to us about earrings or headbands but just from observing what we wear she bought them for us! I mean, how blessed are we to be in such a great area for Christmas??  We also went Christmas Caroling with the Simonds yesterday!  Felt like home!!!  We sang all the songs we sing as we went to neighbors, ward members and a nursing home near St. Andrews.  It was so much fun.  Then we had the YSA fireside we had been planning last night and it was a huge success. Good turnout, great speaker, and just overall awesome night! 

Some more cool stories are....we were working with these less actives who wanted to learn more about family history.  We set up an appointment with the FH consultants and them and they were getting teary eyed as they found some of their ancestors! We started teaching Michael and Kelly again, who want to be baptized the DAY after they get married. We are going to start teaching some of Beth’s family members next week! We made some huge improvements with other people as well. Carolyne didn't come to church so her BCD has to be moved!  But this week we were really focusing on her smoking so we made signs and put them alllllll over her house and printed out pictures of the temple and stuff !  She’s cut down to about 2-3 a day...which is good! She LOVES the BYU shirt!!! I wish you could have seen her face!!! I just gave it to her on Saturday so haven’t seen it on her yet but she absolutely LOVED IT! I told her it might be too big and she was like....Sista Holmoe, if you knew me well, you would know that I LOVE my t's big! haha! She was just dying! I'll get a pic one of these days with her in it!

Another good thing that happened this week was.....WE GOT OUR OWN CAR!!!!!!!!!! It’s amazing!!!!! However, we just found out yesterday that we only have like 100 more miles the rest of the month so therefore we will be biking a lot. We might beg to get a few more cause that’s just ridiculous! But it is super super super nice!  Merry Christmas to us!!  Remember how I used to not drive on the freeway?? How weird was I!?  I'm a pro now fyi ;)

We went to RED ROBIN for our District Activity on Tuesday!!!! Can you say DAY MAKER!?!??  I was dying!!!!!

Remember those teenage boys we wanted to teach but their parents were less active?? Those parents are killin us man!  So hard to teach those boys when the parents aren’t all for it!

So I got your packages this week and opened the big one! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!! <3 The cocoa roasted almonds....(: (: (: delish!!! the decor, nativities, water bottle, stocking, I love it all!!!! I am anxious to open everything!  You have no idea how tempting that opened stocking is to peek inside!!  Also the reindeer poo (or Christmas mix (:) hahah!  I gave one to the Morses who LOVE it!  Going to give another one away and keep the other for myself (:  Y’all are probably so glad I'm not there to eat all the pretzels and chex pieces!  Especially Erik! He used to get so mad! haha!! The socks are darling, the cake bites are delish and the Christmas letter sounded great! I liked how Dad highlighted the "many" dolls of Moms! Also I got your Jubilee stuff Dad! Thanks! Good to keep my info straight!

So I think time zone wise we are only two hours behind Cali time...I'm in central time zone...our mission has two different time zones! Thanks for the info on that!  I will keep you posted but it will be sometime during that time frame!! Can’t believe Utah guy won Survivor!  I laughed out loud when you said you skipped when the 3 finalist walked around the torches! You know that’s my favorite part!!!! Carlee, that squash soup looked DYNAMITE! So jealous!

Well, better go email some more peeps! I love y'all so much!!! ENJOY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! <3 Know I love y’all and miss y’all so much!!! Thanks for everything!! Who’s going to be Santa this year!?! I'm not there to pass out the presents to everyone’s spots ha!  E...looks like you’re on it! BYE!!! Merry Christmas! Love you!! <3/ Sister LA GIRL!



 Ward Party

 6 months

 Last District Meeting and District Activity
 Red Robin
 Sister Slocum always gives us things to make our apartment smell good!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 26

Looks like I'll be spending Christmas in LYNN HAVEN! (: They may just keep me here forever!!! I am relieved though!!! Obviously I will go where I'm needed but secretly I wanted to stay here one more (: (: YAYAY! Sister Sam is still my comp!  We are losing one of our elders but he gets to go be with his best friend so we don't feel bad for him!

I will start off with this weekend, WOW!  What a powerful weekend and such a memorable one!  It will probably be one of my favorites of my entire mission!! It started with Gabe’s baptism!  This boy is the other 8 year old we were teaching, who comes from a less active family!  Well over the past few months of teaching their family the day finally came!  Aaron, the dad, WAS ABLE TO BAPTIZE GABE!! We weren't for sure if he was going to be able to, and he did (:  Then, the step mom prayed in public for the first time!!!! The spirit was so so so strong you have no idea!  People who I would never imagine crying, CRIED.  It was such a beautiful sight.  Just to see how happy and united that family was made me picture them getting sealed in the temple one day.  PURE JOY!  I did indeed lead the music again (:  I actually volunteered myself this time so I could redeem myself!  Everyone was so impressed (:  People in the ward are so funny, they feel as if I am a permanent member here! 

Then on Sunday, Sister Sam and I spoke in Sacrament!  We found out on Thursday and then only had like 3 hours to prepare and practice giving our talk!!  (if that)!  It was on Christmas, the nativity mixed in with missionary work and stuff like that!  The main theme on mine was “Sharing the Good Tidings of Great Joy!”  I was a little nervous and frazzled in the planning stages but it went SOOOOO WELL!!!!  The talk went great but it was when I was bearing my testimony that the spirit just bore witness to me that everything I had just said was 100% true. I felt really prompted to talk about the BOM and bear strong testimony of that so I actually cut out some of my talk and shared my feelings about the BOM for a while. It was a really cool moment on my mission and it came at a good time, right around my 6th month mark!  I sat down and just felt sooooo unbelievably happy.  Looking around at all the faces I just knew this is where I am supposed to be right now, sharing the gospel every day.  I am so grateful to be the Lord’s servant at this time in my life!!!!  Church is true, book is blue! Carolyne, Teresa and Stella were all in Sacrament yesterday so that made it great too (:

We are starting to give church tours!!!  We had the BEST one this week!!!  It was with an 18 year old girl we are starting to teach and her less active friend and her family.  The family is always pretty goofy and funny so we were nervous how it would all go giving a spiritual church tour but it was AMAZING.  They bore such strong testimony and were quiet and listening!  The girl, Ashley, reallllly liked it and agreed to let us start teaching her the lessons with Austin who is preparing to serve a mission.  It’s the family who always takes us out to Outback! Not sure if you remember me talking about them or not! I'm realllly excited about it!!

We had some more cool moments this week.  One included us praying to find out how to involve the parents more in a teaching situation where we teach their children.  We had NO idea how we were going to do it but we prayed and then went inside and the furniture was completely rearranged.  The new arrangement made the environment for teaching SOOOO much better to where the parents would have to be more involved in the lessons.  Hard to explain but right as we walked in Sister Sam and I just looked at each other and smiled because we knew Heavenly Father planned that one out for us (:

We also had a cool experience where we wanted to meet with this less active YSA who comes from really active parents.  We didn't really want his parents to be a part of the conversation though but we didn't really have another option.  Well we knock on the door and hes the only one home!! (WHICH NEVER HAPPENS)  We couldn’t go in obviously but he came out and talked to us on the porch.  We shared an awesome lesson with him and it was possible only because the parents weren't home at the exact time we tried knocking!

Some funny stories this week include:

-a wasp swarming through our car while I'm driving!!! (CAN YOU SAY SCARY MOMENT) haha!
-this lady seeing us walking towards her and saying "OH NO, DONT YOU TAKE A STEP CLOSER MAMS. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE ALL ABOUT. LEAVE." haha!!
-Tracting in the Christmas tree lot (: We had a few good contacts.  This one boy seemed awesome but then he told us he goes to Northstar, the church that every young adult goes to.....they have like drums and stuff haha.  There was no way he was coming to ours! 
One of the Gulf Coast bball players is interested in coming to church!  He was out of town this week for games but hopefully this next week he'll come! 
-At a dinner appointment we were telling this family about when we saw a fox.  Their little girl in the closing prayer said, "please bless the missionaries to stay safe from foxes on their bikes." It was the CUTEST THING EVER! haha! (:

We were able to watch the Christmas Devotional!  LOVED IT!  The Motab did really good!  I got Aunt Rhonda and Shan’s package! AUNT RHONDA. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Well, I haven't opened the presents yet but I had the pumpkin bread and the cookies (: (: Holy cow, they were so good!!!!  Made me feel right at home!! Seriously, I really appreciate it!!!! Love you!!! Shan, your package is sealed and under the tree since you told me to wait (: I opened your Christmas card though and loved it!!  Your dress in the pic is so cute!! I also liked the shout out I got in your letter (: made me happy!!

Mom, I did wash Aunt Rhonda’s bag!  It turned out nice!! My return date is actually Dec 25, Christmas day, so I'm sure they will have to change that!  So who the heck knows when I'll actually come home!  I think we are going Christmas caroling this week with a family! (: STOKED!!! I LOVVVED your video!!! I actually got to listen to it with sound this time and it made my day!!!  (: The tree looks great! I was laughing out loud about what happened about it tipping over!! CLASSIC (: Hey, question is there a certain time that you will want to Skype??? Just curious, because it is coming up! Like 50 people have volunteered to let us use their computer!  Love these folks!! A nice lady fixed all the repairs I needed on my clothes (: So nice of her! Oh by the way, I have no idea what time I'll be emailing for the next few weeks because our library will be closed so we might have to email at the church later in the afternoon. No clue!!! Just a heads up so you don't have to wait at the comp all day!

WELL, I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you all for everything!!!! This is such a wonderful season!!!! It’s been up to 80 degrees this past week! Doesn't feel like December!! Can’t believe y’all have so much snow!!!!  I kind of miss it......haha not really!! ;) Thanks for all the emails and pics and videos!!!  They make my day!! LOVE YALL <3/ Sister Lauren Ashley Holmoe (:

Huge Lindor Ball I found in Walmart

 Christmas Tree Lot
Gabe's Baptism

 Lauren, the bride!
 Who knew I would ever hold a cat?!