Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 33


HEY Y'ALL!!

SOOOO many things to say today!!  GUESS WHAT?  HUGE winter storm coming in today and lasting 3 days....SNOW!?  The electricity is projected to go out and the roads are going to be wayyy icy and slick! 4-6 inches projected here!  WELCOME TO ALABAMA?!  Oh Troy, Alabama how I love this place!!  It is the cutest little town you've ever seen!! There are so many things to update y’all on I don't even know where to begin!

Sister McFarland is my companion and she is from Salem, Oregon!  She’s really sweet!  We actually live with the two other sisters in Troy as well so it’s what they call a "four-pad."   It is smaller than my last apartment and we have twice the amount of people....we only have 2 mirrors!?  It’s quite the adjustment but we are surviving!! The adjustment has been hard for them because they were all in a trio before I came.  We had to split the work and the people and it’s been kind of crazy but I think in a week it will be all figured out and normal again!  There is SOOO much potential in this area, it’s unreal!!!  It’s been pretty stagnant for a long time so there is a lot of work to do but I'm excited!!  Being in a new area is really refreshing and I've been able to better see how much I've grown as a missionary since I first came out!!  Sister McFarland and I are ready to work hard, set some good goals, and get this area rolling!!  It needs a lot of help!!

So we work on Troy University's campus basically every day!  It is SO much fun!!!  It feels so weird being back in college, seeing all the new clothing styles, and it’s just a whole new mission! Troy is FULL of international students so I've already taught students from Germany, Nigeria, Ukraine, and tons and tons of Asians (:  They call Troy "the gateway to China" because of all the Asian students!  I always knew I'd go to Asia on my mission! (:  You are never bored here because you can always just be walking around talking to people!  We walk a lot which I LOVE!! It’s been pretty cold lately though!  The campus is really nice!!) 


We do a lot of Family History here!  We set up booths during the week and try to get appointments to help people with their family history!  We've already had lots of appointments for that but now we have to work on bridging the gap to teaching the gospel!! 

We did get a new investigator this week named Daseul!  She is Korean and SO cute (:  We taught her the first lesson and taught her how to pray!! She barely spoke English and yet said the BEST PRAYER EVER for the first time in her entire life!  She didn't even know God loved her.  I'm not used to teaching people like that so it is all new to me but I love it!! The language barrier gets tricky but it’s awesome.  The only hard thing with teaching Asians is getting them to church.....they are SOOO serious about their studies and education that they use Sundays to do that.  It will be tricky to get them to church but we can do it! 

Crazy story!  Ashley from Lynn Haven gave me the name of one of her good friends up here in Troy and I randomly met her on the 2nd day I was here!?!  NO COINCIDINCES in the mission life!  I also met tons of students from Lynn Haven and Panama City so it’s a good connection to be able to know where they are from and even what street they live on! 

There are 6 missionaries in our Branch and 8 in our District and I've been out the longest!?!  Isn't that crazy!?  I feel so old in the mission life haha!  The people in the branch are hilarious.  It is a family branch and a couple YSA's!  It is so small and cute.  In Relief Society we sat in a circle!!  SO different than what I'm used to but it’s fun!  The people are nice but just like any place it will take some time to make relationships and feel at home!  There is a man named Bro Whiting here who was the facility manager at Dad's stake building!  He loves you Dad!  The Branch mission leader is HILARIOUS and the Branch President
is like the most intense man ever.  Apparently he does this thing with all the new missionaries where he comes up to them 5 min before sacrament and assigns them a super hard topic and asks them to speak that day in sacrament! WOAH now.....haha!  Only in Troy! 

Every Saturday we do a Sports Night at the practice field on Campus with branch members, ysa's and students!  We play Ultimate Frisbee! Boy oh boy am I out of shape!!!  I was sore the next day from all the running!  I love how much exercise we get in this area.  We share one car with all sets so we do mostly walking, some biking, and the occasional car!  It’s really nice to get a variety but walking is definitely my favorite!

So we work mostly on campus but do some community work as well!  We are still trying to decide how to divvy out all the areas and work so I'll keep you posted!  The town is really cute though too!

I'm excited for all the adventures and experiences I'm going to have in Troy! It’s definitely a hard area and a challenging place to teach but like I said, SO MUCH POTENTIAL!  I'm excited for where it is going!  I'm ready to work hard!

Leaving Lynn Haven was WOW, SO HARD :(  It was almost just as hard leaving there as it was leaving Provo...haha.  That place will forever be my home away from home!  We were able to have a successful YSA bonfire on the beach on Monday night with less actives there and also teach Ashley’s Mom on Tuesday which went AWESOME <3.  The Morses took us out Tuesday night and saying bye to them was really hard but we'll stay close FOREVER!  I pray for the people of Lynn Haven every day!  Carolyne cried for hours when I left...love that woman so much!  Even the picture guy at Walmart
tried giving me a hug and then resulted in kissing my hand goodbye haha!  He is like 80 years old...haha!  I'm so grateful for everything about my first 7 months <3 

We had a crazy adventure on the way up to transfer spots...Sister Sam's bike fell off the bike rack on the freeway!  We were so blessed that no one was near us so no one was hurt!  I hope they can fix her bike...it was pretty wrecked!  I love Sister Sam so so much and hope she is doing well!!!  She will be my sister for life!  Just like I knew it would be, it was hard to leave, but I'm SO happy to be here in Troy!!!! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.  I know this is where I'm needed and have prayed a lot for comfort!  I've felt soooo comforted and so blessed!  GO TROJANS!!!! <3 I love you all so so much and pray for you daily!!!! Thanks for the emails!!! <3/ Sister Holmoe


PS.  Be sure to email me for my new address!!  lauren.holmoe@myldsmail.net

 Last Supper at Newks!


 YSA Bonfire





National Champs
 Last district meeting! They had me bear my testimony and then we all sang "God be with you till we meet again"!
Good Bye to Lynn Haven...Love this city with all my <3


 My Second Family- The Morses
Good Bye to Sister Sam

 Welcome to Troy, AL!  Troy Trojans!!

 My new companion
 We did some service out on the FARMM...this is real Alabama!



 Saturday Night Sports Night



Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 32


WELL, THE BIG NEWS IS....I am getting transferred to TROY UNIVERSITY!!!! I am going to be a campus sister with a sister named sister McFarland. Not sure who she is but I'm the senior companion so she must have come out after me!  There are two sets of sisters up in Troy so we are Campus Sisters B!  I am SOOOOO BEYOND EXCITED for this new change and this new adventure on my mission!! Troy is one of the most northern parts of our mission in the Dothan Zone.  I am pumped!!! I know it may be a hard transition at first but I'm anxious for new work and what lies ahead!!!

I am so so so grateful for the past 7 months I've had in Lynn Haven and Panama City.  Words cannot even begin to describe the love I have for this place, the people, the memories, EVERYTHING.  It will always be my second home because of the person I have become while serving here!  I'll never forget it! 

This past week has been amazing!  We were able to teach some of our neighbors who we've wanted to teach FOREVER!  We were able to give them a church tour and the spirit was so strong.  We also were able to set up lessons with Ashley's Mom, confirm Stella’s BCD, get some new investigators and much much more.  I can now leave Lynn Haven knowing I endured to the end and left with a bang! (: 

The members spoiled us so much this week, as always, when the last week of the transfers arrive!  We were able to go to all our favorite food places and some good new ones too! There is a local donut shop in downtown PC called "Dan-D-Donuts" that has been around FOREVER.  Dad, you would LOVVVVE it!!!  We'll definitely have to go one day!  Ms. Shirley also made her famous chicken n dumplins!!  I probably gained like 5 pounds this week alone so it’s a good thing I'm going to a campus for the next 6 weeks haha (: 

We went to a family history class at the local library.  Sister McCann taught and we got some great referrals from it!  Also the other day when we were out tracting we left some family history cards on the doors of people who weren't home.  One night a man called us and expressed how he’s been wanting to learn more about family history!!!! (no one ever calls us from a card) So this week we have an appointment with our FH consultant and him to do some work!!! woot woot!!

We had an interesting experience out visiting some less actives in Southport! This man was VERY ANTI and against the Mormons now but he WOULD NOT deny the Book of Mormon.  That just reminds me of the talk by Elder Holland where he says that people who leave the church have to crawl over under or around the BOM to leave it.  So true.  This man’s heart was so hard about the things he once cherished but nothing in him could deny the power of the Book of Mormon! SO GOOD.

Another cool moment was last night we were out making visits with Sis Mercier and we bumped into an investigator sitting outside on her porch smoking.  We talked with her, shared a message and then all sang "I Believe In Christ."  The spirit was so strong and I know it touched her heart. <3 Simple moments like that I will treasure forever! 

Yesterday at church, knowing it could be my last time around those people, was amazing.  Everyone was there and I was able to just observe all the people I've been able to work with for the past 7 months. LOVE EM LIKE FAMILY!!

Well, I have a lot to do today and better get going but know I LOVE Y’ALL SO MUCH!!! Thanks for all the pics, emails, letters, and prayers!  They mean so much!! I'll let you know next week all about TROY!!! <3/ Sister Holmoe

 Me and Ms Shirley
Visiting Sis Evans in the hospital.  I'm going to miss this lady a lot!!! She's like a grandma to me!
 Our barbeque we had at Stella's house
  Gonna miss this lady!!!
 This is Kora (Beth's step mom)! Such a sweet lady!!
 Me and GABE!! going to miss this youngin' a lot!!!
Sweet Frogs frozen yogurt!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 31


Hello everyone!!! This week would easily be up there for one of the best days of my entire life!! <3 I am just going to start this email out with Ashley’s baptism.  Oh it was beyond perfect people!  I wish everyone could have been there.  We had so much support from the ward, less actives, and our investigators that we had to move the program into the CHAPEL.  Lynn Haven has never had a baptism that full before!!  I was just so giddy as everyone was coming in; many people surprised me who followed through with our invitation!  It was the most wonderful evening.  It started at 5 o clock and there was a dinner after.  The program was AWESOME (:  The speakers were great and we had 2 really powerful musical numbers.  One of them was me, Sister Sam, Julie, Amanda and Brianna singing this Jenny Phillips song. Ashley was sitting on the front row just smiling from ear to ear and then shedding a few tears.  She looked BEAUTIFUL in her white dress and I just looked at her the whole time with so much happiness!!!  The other musical number was the youth and YSAs singing the "EFY Medley".  That is by far my all-time favorite song and it felt so good to sing that with amazing people and future missionaries!!  There was not a dry eye in the chapel and then we all moved into the RS room where the font was.  Sister Sam, Brianna and I were inside the font like up the stairs so we had a perfect view!  She came out and just cried and hugged all three of us! I’m getting the chills typing this right now because it was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life!!!!!  Ashley was just BEAMING and SO happy and so clean. Another cool thing about that day was in the morning there was a HUGE storm, thunder, lightning, wind, heavy rains and then after the baptism it was a perfectly clear night.  Just like the song says, "I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain."  Ashley truly was perfectly clean, inside and out.  Her non-member parents came and were really really impressed.  We are hoping to be able to start teaching them!!  Great people.  Brianna then said the closing prayer. (it’s been about 6 years since she’s said one in public).  That was an amazing moment.  It was the most heartfelt prayers EVERRRR. Oh it was amazing.  One of our less actives got so emotional she had to leave the baptism early because the spirit was just piercing her but then she came to church the next day! (: The confirmation was beautiful.  After she was confirmed she even looked different.  Just a whole new glow about her!!!! The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, the Priesthood authority is real and there was no denying that.  We also had some recent converts bear their testimonies while Ashley was changing and that was really special to hear as well! SO many good things!!! I'll never forget any of it! <3  I'm soooo grateful I was able to be a part of Ashley’s conversion and will continue to be for the rest of my life! She and Austin are planning on turning in mission papers at the same time within the next 2 years.  So many good things to come in that girl’s future and so many generations to save!!! BLESSED (:

Last Monday one of my prayers was answered and it was AMAZING.  I had been praying to be put in SOMEONE's path and as we were walking out of Gulf Coast College from emailing, this guy named Jonah comes up to us and asked us if we happened to have a BOM on us.  I almost started laughing because that just NEVER happens!  I thought I was getting PUNKED haha!  But no, it was real!!!  We talked to him for a while and he is so interested and so we are planning times to start teaching him.  When moments like that happen I am just so grateful for the power of prayer!! It’s real!

We had some awesome lessons this week with some of our investigators we haven't been able to teach in a while.  It was GREAT!!  More good news is Teresa came to the baptism and church on Sunday and is ready to start taking the lessons again.  Stella is scheduled to be baptized April 5th. (long ways away because of divorce and marriage)!  This lady I've been trying to teach since JULY, finally followed through with a scheduled appointment and we taught her!  So many great things! 

Megan had her baby! Pyper Maiumi (Japanese)!  She is SOOO cute!  We saw her in the hospital only 3 hours after she had been born! <3 She was 9 pounds 6 oz!!! BIG BABY GIRL!  Lots of dark hair!  It was really fun for us!  Then it made me SOOO excited for my new nephew coming into the world soon!!! <3 

Had some great food this week!  The best was "Moes".  It’s the same atmosphere of Costa and Cafe Rio and they have wayyy good burritos!  NOT COMPARING EVEN CLOSE TO COSTA...but still really really good!!! 

Thank you for sending me the Christmas Cards!!! That was SO FUN to go through!!!  I love my fam and friends back at home!! And my new fam and friends here in the mission field!  I am truly so blessed!!!!

Thank you all for all the prayers in my behalf.  I TRULY do feel them!!!! I'm grateful for all y’all do for me and hope you have an amazing week!!!! Never forget how much I LOVE Y’ALL!!!! <3/ Sister Holmoe!

Pedicure P-day




Cold Stone
 The partially frozen water fountain...this never happens
 Volunteering at the Library
 Ashley's Baptism




 7 months...
 ...with no haircut!

 Lydia, one of my fave little girls!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 30

Hello Family!!  Happy New Year!! I think this was the first New Year’s Eve I didn't stay up till midnight :(  But it’s okay because since I've been a missionary early to bed has never been a problem for me!  I don’t think I'll be able to live the college lifestyle again haha!  This week has been great!! I'll start off the email with some weekly funnies to change it up a bit (:

We knocked on a door and this man opened it half way and he was like, "Oh hey sisters, I just got out of the shower to answer the door, thought you were someone else." HAHA. Needless to say a naked man answered the door!  You NEVER know who is going to be behind the door you knock on that’s for sure!! I've definitely learned to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!! The other morning we woke up and there was a huge cockroach in the apartment!  I didn’t even flinch.  I just got the shoe and killed it just like that!  I've definitely changed over the past few months in the killing bugs department!  Everyone would be so proud!! (:

We had an awesome lesson with a less active family this week.  During our spiritual message the mother was crying and getting really emotional and then expressed to us how badly she wants to return to the fold.  I LOVE working with less active members who desire to return!  Helping them along their journey back is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary!!  I have seen that a lot with the Copeland’s daughter, Ashley’s friend.  It’s been amazing to see her little by little feel the spirit again.  She still has a ways to go but like for example, yesterday we were talking about patriarchal blessings and she got hers out and read it to herself and I saw her getting emotional.  It’s been real!!!!  Ashley’s whole story has been amazing! I'm so grateful to be a part of it!  She is all set for this Saturday, 5pm!! The program is coming together nicely and we are hoping to get a very big crowd!!  It will be a moment never to forget!! <3

Carolyne took a lot of steps back this week.  Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong! :(  Trials are just coming from all directions and she says that smoking is the only way to cope with them.  We try to explain to her that it is Satan trying to prevent her from doing something amazing with her life but she just hasn’t gotten that quite yet!  We'll have to be prayerful about how to best continue working with her! We did have some great lessons with her though.  Funny story.  One of her prayers she said was like this, "Please bless Sista Holmoe and Sister Samuelian.........Lauren and Nicole......Father forgive me for I know I am not to use their first names.....even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I really do love them." HAHA!  We were trying so hard not to laugh our heads off!! I really wish y’all could be a fly on the wall during some lessons!!! CLASSIC moments I love so dearly! (:  Keep praying for Ms Carolyne for one day she will defeat the enemy!!!!

We were finally able to teach Cora, who is Beth’s step mom!  It went pretty well!  She is very devout catholic so it was interesting.  Every time I talk to people of other faiths it just confirms my testimony of the restored gospel!!! Everyone else is so lost and so confused but our doctrine is pure and simple!  She wants to be sealed to her husband because she said in the Catholic weddings they say, "til death do you part" but yet she struggles with accepting other things!  Forever Families is definitely the key to this family!! And many many more families! It’s the greatest gift!!

We also got to teach Stella this week!!! We had our lesson at the Stewart’s house up in Southport.  Y’all need to try her carrot cake one day, IT IS AMAZING!!!!! Anyways, Stella wants to learn and be baptized asap but she has to finalize her divorce first which could take up to a year........!  She’s awesome though. Hilarious too!

Today and tomorrow are supposed to be SO COLD!!!! The schools have even offered to excuse the students if it is too cold to wait for the bus......it’s only like 35 degrees people.  ONLY IN FLORIDA!! They say there is even a chance for SNOW tomorrow if enough precipitation is in the air! HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE!?!  It hasn’t snowed in like 20 years!

Early last week my mailbox was FILLED with so many wonderful Christmas cards from people!!!! Thank you especially to the Rich Family, Uncle Doug and Aunt Ginny, The Van Buren fam, and the Grandview 6th ward!!!! The package they sent with all the notes the ward members wrote was the best thing ever!!! I loved loved loved it! They also sent pictures of all the ward missionaries out right now! Except they had my dates wrong.....but that’s okay! There were also two sisters I had no clue who they were!?  But it was so fun to receive!!!  All the primary kids drew pictures and it just made my day!!  So thank you!!! Also Bishop Salmon put a wonderful note inside as well!!! 

I loved the cute card from Balboa!! And I would LOVE to get the family Christmas cards on the fridge!!  That would be great!!!

This week we are really going to work on FINDING.  Our teaching pool has dwindled a lot lately and we need some new investigators!!! Bring on the patience, prayers, and positivity!!  <3

I LOVE Y’ALL SO MUCH! Thanks for everything! Spiritual message of the day......I was reading "Claim the Blessings of Your Covenants" by Linda S. Reeves and she told the story of the Provo Tabernacle burning down and how people asked, "why would God let that happen?" I think lots of people ask that question about their personal trials, "why would God let that happen to me??"" But I LOVE how Sister Reeves explained how God saw the tabernacle as a beautiful temple.  He sees us as eternal beings and he must build us up to get there!  He will NEVER just leave us in the ashes.  The best Mormon message EVER in my eyes is "Mountains to Climb".  It talks about having the faith to get through trials...EVERYONE WATCH IT! (:  So good!!!  It’s hard to teach so many people who are struggling but because of the Atonement and Gods infinite love MIRACLES HAPPEN and we have eternity awaiting us!!! 

Have a wonderful week!!!! I'll send lots of pictures from Ashley’s baptism next week!! YAYA! (: Grateful to be a missionary in 2014!!  Love you!!!! <3/ Sister LA GIRL!

 

Me and Sister Crandall! Love this girl! <3


 Me on New Year's Eve!  Happy 2014!!


Having a fiesta at "Peppers," the only good Mexican restaurant in Panama City!!



I approve of this local sandwich shop!  

"Thomas" Love you Dad!!!