Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 46


Good morning y’all!!  It’s been another eventful, adventurous, miraculous, and hot week here in Troy!! We've had some more bible bashers beat down on us this week.  We also had rainstorms surprise us!  It’s always a good time here :) haha!  Saturday was a crazy day!  Not to mention it was the hottest!  So, dear sweet Krystal may be getting baptized before going back to China but in order for her to get baptized she had to come to Stake Conference this weekend.  At first she wasn’t going to be able to come on Sunday because of work so we were trying to get her to come on Saturday BUT she doesn't have a phone!!  Clearly that created a problem.  Sister McFarland and I had to use our mad creeping skills to hunt her down on the campus and relay all this info!  It was insane!!  We were EVERYWHERE!  I got the worst sunburn, just wait for pics :)  But God was helping us find her, as miracle after miracle occurred, and we caught her!  She ended up coming Sunday instead which made the crazy adventure seem worthless but that’s okay :)  It was one of those days when I used Dad's old line that said, "It Aint Easy Being (Us)"!! The life of a missionary is crazy sometimes but worth every sunburn, every blister, everything!  Krystal was able to ride up to Dothan with us Sunday morning and she had a great time.  What a wonderful conference that was!!  The spirit was so strong.  It felt nice being in a big chapel again and even nicer singing with more than 40 people!  Good change up from our normal cute little branch :)  Elder Gerard and Elder Baxter from the 70 were present at the meeting and they were both awesome!! I LOVED Elder Baxter.  He is from Ireland and was such a powerful speaker!  He gave advice for when people doubt the church or use misconceptions to disprove us, to just turn to them and say, "Come and See".  Invite them to come and see for themselves what we are all about and they will NOT be able to use those arguments against us.  He talked about how we are Christian and he was just great!  He'd be a sweet companion to have in the mission field!  He cracked some hilarious jokes as well and I could have sworn he was going to call on me because I felt like he was staring at me the whole time!!  Our Stake Presidency got released and PRESIDENT SALMON (Our branch president in Troy) got called to be the new Stake President which means lots of change coming up for Troy!  President Salmon will be a great Stake President; he is an amazing leader!  I saw some people from Panama City at stake conference because Brother Davis from Dothan got called as a counselor and he just happens to be related to all the Davis' in Panama City!  Everyone is related in the South.  I also got to see Sister Stanfield!!!! Gave her a great big hug!! Love her!!! And I saw Elder Davis!!!  He is so great!!! It was a fun reunion!!  Overall it was a great Sunday!!

We were able to volunteer at the Troy Fest this week which was super fun!!  It was the 12th annual and tons of people were there!  It was a great finding activity and we passed out tons of pass along cards to many visitors. Troy Fest was like a CLASSIC southern festival you would see in a movie!!!  I LOVED it!! The high up people in Troy just love the sister missionaries so it’s awesome!  The food was amazing.  People paid for us to get lunch including this delish chicken pita and of course, funnel cake!  They had fried oreos there but I didn’t even go down that road again haha!

Once upon a time Sister Mac and I were at the post office and one of the workers was crying.  We decided to go home write her a note and bring it back later that day so we did!  Not sure what would come out of that but 4 weeks later she met a member of our church and started crying to her telling her about the note we wrote!  The member was able to invite her to church for next Sunday!  Miracles happen when members and missionaries work together even in small and simple ways! <3

One day, it was POURING rain and we were walking home from campus without any umbrellas because it came out of nowhere and this sweet girl offered us a ride! She was the cutest.  She was talking about how she is going to college but really she just wants to get married and have 8 kids! Yes, yes of course we then brought up eternal families and the importance of families here on earth!  She was totally hooked and we have an appointment with her this week!  Sometimes God gives downpours for us to get new investigators and we'll take it :)

We were doing a booth on campus and a guy walks by wearing a Tulane shirt.  I briefly remembered BYU playing them one time so I asked him if he went to school there.  Turns out he was on the football team when they played BYU!  He said that was one of his scariest moments because he was an 18 year old freshman warming up on the field seeing BYU players with KIDS already!  Another person we were teaching this week found out we were from Utah and was like, "I love BYU football!"  He knew like all the players.  Crazy!  Random fans everywhere!  I love when sports help us get the hook before we plant gospel seeds :) ha! That same guy after we taught him was like, "If I become Mormon, do I HAVE to go on a mission, I'm too shy"! haha he is hilarious!

We took Soumalya on a church tour this week which was awesome!  Hopefully he will come on Sunday!  I also got to hold a snake on campus since it was Earth week! Sister Mac and I also made a dairy-egg-wheat free cake for fun!  Lots of great fun things go on during the week :) It’s starting to get to that point where we know like every student on campus. It’s the funniest thing!  I've loved every minute of serving on a campus no matter how tricky it can get! Finals are this week which means people will be leaving home soon.  This week we got to TESTIFY stronger than ever!!!!! I am so excited!!  Leave them with the spirit just sinking in their souls!  

Frisbee on Saturday was fun!  I am slowly getting better! It’s quite hilarious because new people come play every week and we have team captains pick the teams.  Every time I get picked so early because they think I look athletic when in all reality I stink at Frisbee. It’s quite hilarious!

Dad, I can’t believe you met the AD from Troy!! What are the odds?!?!  We will for sure go meet him this week!!  I'm excited!  Also, I know Sister Medlyn!  That is awesome she was in the office!!  Yes she is my mission great grandmother!  She was a legend in Lynn Haven!  Sounds like y’all had a great trip in Cali!!!  So jealous you got to go to the Grove and all those fun shops for Danny!! I would have laughed too if I saw Dad trying on those shorts! We’ve got the best parents :)  haha!  Mom, the American girl doll of the year would look like me the ONE year I'm not there ha!!   In my package if you could send my next journal that would be great!

Well I love y’all so much!!! Grateful to be here in Troy and grateful to hear from y’all each week :)  Have a wonderful week!!! I love you! <3/ Sister Lauren Holmoe!!

 Hipster glasses life

Chillin' with the environmental science club during earth week!

 One of my favorite crazy dogs named "cougar"
 Troy Fest

 Best Lunch of the Week

Do y'all see something orange in the tree?? THAT IS AN ASIAN WHO CLIMBED UP, HOOKED UP A HAMMOCK AND WAS STUDYING AT THE TOP OF THE TREE!! haha I was dying!!!
 It was a long tiring day!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 45

Good morning y’all!!!  It’s been a great week here in Troy, AL!!  Easter yesterday was a blast!!! I loved seeing the pics y’all sent me! We had a great Easter Program in church yesterday.  Our BIG primary of 5 kids got up and sang :)  They were so cute!  Have y’all seen the new video the church put out called #BecauseofHim??  GO WATCH IT!  Life changer!!  We've been showing it to everyone this past week.  Strengthened my testimony of Christ for sure!!  After church we had an amazing dinner at the Whiting’s!!  Honey baked Ham and potato casserole and jello and veggies and rolls and like ten desserts!  It tasted just like HOME :)  After dinner we played this little game called the "name game"!  It is definitely a game our family would enjoy playing!  The Whiting’s got a new puppy and he is the cutest thing ever!  Also yesterday, we were walking to campus and all the sudden a car drives by and yells, "Taylor Swift!!"  I look and it is two YSAs from Panama City!! They were actually in the PCB and Callaway ward so I did not know them very well but I had met them a few times! They used to call me Taylor Swift because they think I look like her ha! Anyways, it was the bomb!!!! It felt like seeing long lost friends!!!  We took pics that they can take back and show everyone!  They were up here visiting friends!  We also saw an armadillo this week! ha!  Oh also this morning I got to call Sister Sam in Lynn Haven because we got a referral for them!  It was great :)  Love my baby girl!!!

Our interview with thee Mike Amos went AWESOME!!  It was an HOUR LONG!! We got to talk a lot more about gospel related things this time.  I'm going to mail home a copy this week but unfortunately the first 20 min of the interview the camera wasn’t working, only the voices!  So you can listen to the first 20 min and watch the last 40!  There are some funny parts!!!  It was great though and literally like 15 people later that week said they saw us on TV! They took us out to breakfast after and said anytime we come back to this place that we can charge it on his account! So pro!  They love us!! They also are obsessed with BYU and want a BYU bobble head on their desk for the shows haha.

For Dance and Yoga class last week I changed it up a little and taught them a hip hop dance!  It was fun!  We had our district activity at the one and only Milky Moos and all got shakes!  That was a blast too.

Once again we taught lots and lots of lessons!  I LOVE being on a campus for that reason but the hard part about being on a campus is PEER INFLUENCE. We've seen it strong this week!  We teach lessons where the spirit is present and touches the heart of these people and bears witness of the truth but then they go back to their dorms or class and are too easily swayed by what others think or say!  It’s really a bummer!  We are trying to get them to hold onto that spirit by getting them in the scriptures daily but it’s been a struggle!!  Too many investigators have dropped us because of what their friends have told them about our church! The wicked take the truth to be hard!!  Other than that, we've seen many miracles <3  We have been teaching this one kid named Jack whose Dad is an active member of the church but Jack always went with his Mom’s Baptist side.  Anyways he hasn’t talked to his Dad for a few years but after the third lesson with us he texted his dad a picture of a Book of Mormon and said he had met with us.  His Dad responded the sweetest message and was like, "Proud of you son.  Listen to their message.  Something with so much opposition must be worth taking a look at."  That text really touched Jack's heart.  He’s one who is being pulled by his friends but we'll keep praying for him!!

We taught Krystal more this week! Cute Krystal wants to be baptized so bad but she can’t come to church because she feels obligated to finish the semester going with her friend to the Korean Church!  So unfortunately she will not be able to but we are going to teach and testify and give her opportunities for her to feel the Holy Spirit before she leaves back to China!!  There is a sweet website for the Chinese members of the church and we linked her to that so she can know where churches are when she gets back!

Soumalyia basically totally believes in a God now!!!! AMAZING!! His faith is growing stronger and stronger each day and his prayers are the best.  I wish y’all could hear them!!  I'm so grateful to have been able to help him learn who is Father in Heaven is!!

We gave Clinton a church tour this week!  He made it in the building!!  That is a miracle in itself!  Unfortunately he is like a world traveler and is never here on the weekends to come to our services but we'll see!! It was nice giving a church tour!  It’s been a while!  The spirit is always so strong during them.

One of our YSAs who we are very close with has decided to get her Patriarchal Blessing!  Ah, I'm so happy for her.  We had a sweet lesson on Patriarchal Blessings and then she’s been praying about it and is going to get hers at the end of the semester!  She is on such a spiritual high right now!!! Love her to death!

We participated in an Easter Egg Hunt on campus in the Barnes and Noble!  It was a super rainy day so there were only like 6 people who came but there was a 50 dollar gift card in one of the eggs!!! It was way fun but unfortunately we didn't win :(  I got like 20 eggs and they were only candy filled ones!  ha!  Sister Mac won a Trojan doll!

It’s been fun being here during Easter because many of the international students didn’t even know what Easter was!  It’s been such a blessing to testify of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ and His glorious Resurrection!!! Kelsey gave her first talk in sacrament yesterday on this very topic and she did great :)

BOM update...I'm on Moroni chapter 7 so this week I will finish it :) So stoked! I am so proud of y’all for reading and keeping me posted with where you are at! Makes me so happy!! Good luck with your talks on Sunday mom and dad! You guys picked good ones!!!  You'll do great!!

I LOVE Y’ALL SO MUCH!!! Have a wonderful week!!!! <3/ Sister Lauren Holmoe!!!

Hard Boiled Eggs Sister Missionary Style :)

 Cute Puppy!!
 Harley and Megan, the two YSAs from Panama City!
 District Pic!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 44

I live to see 6 more weeks in Troy!  Actually all 6 of us missionaries live to see 6 more weeks in Troy!  No change up here!  Sister Sam is still in Lynn Haven too which means she will have been there for 9 months at the end of this!! Crazy!!  Our ZL's are still the same.  Sister Redd is no longer a sister trainer leader though but we got Sister Brigham who is like my favorite sister ever!  She’s the bomb!  I'm glad we get another 6 weeks with no change!  Lots of great things to accomplish in these 6 weeks together!!

This week has been fun!  On Friday all of us missionaries got to serve in the community at Salvation Army's "Empty Bowl" event!  Every year the students at Troy make pottery bowls and then the community pays 20 dollars to get a bowl, unlimited soup, and be able to participate in a silent auction for more pottery bowls!  Basically the whole community just comes together to support the Salvation Army!  We got to serve the soup for a few hours and it was way fun!  The great part was I got interviewed and MADE THE NEWS haha :)  Famous here in Alabama!  All the top restaurants brought their soups and we got to try most all of them as well! There was this gourmet crab corn chowder that was just amazing!!  Everyone there just loved the missionaries and we got lots of great feedback!  It was good badge time for us!

Last night we had Kyle and Rachel over to the Brimhall's (a couple in our Branch) for dinner!  I hope y’all remember who Kyle and Rachel are! Anyways, THEY GOT ENGAGED!  YAY!  Even though they are getting married civilly right now, I know there is a temple sealing in their future!!  It was good for them to be in the Brimhall’s home where they can feel the spirit of an eternal family!  We had a great lesson and even though they still aren’t accepting it fully, we are just building the foundation for the day they do :)  They just can't let us go either which is the funny part!!  We had the 1st barbeque of the year which was GREAT!  I'd been craving a good burger!  It was perfect weather so we ate in their Florida room and had watermelon and all sorts of goodness!  It was a fun night and the Brimhall’s are great fellowshippers for Kyle and Rachel!  They all work out at the same gym every day which is prime!

We have lots of really cool new investigators!  One may be my favorite of all time! His name is Chris!!  We met Chris at Ultimate Frisbee and then invited him to do family history and now are teaching him all the lessons!  His Dad is mormon.  Well, less active now.  He married a mormon girl and got baptized and I believe even married in the temple but then got divorced and is married to Chris's mom.  He NEVER talks about his past life with that though so Chris wants to know what it’s all about.  He soaks up all the lessons like a sponge and LOVES THEM!  Just in this past week we have taught him the first three lessons and he’s read 3 chapters in the Book of Mormon!  He agrees with everything we teach and always says how much it makes sense.  His prayers are so great and he even seems to look like a returned missionary too!  The hard thing with Chris will be getting him to act on the spirit he is feeling.  Getting him to come to church and be baptized could be tricky but it’s been so awesome to teach him.  He will leave at the end of the semester back to Montgomery for the summer but hopefully we can get him to meet with missionaries up there!  This gospel will bless his life so much!!! I hope he can humble himself enough to fully accept it one day!!!  
Nick is still the same Nick.  He has a strong testimony and even came to one of our lessons and testified to the investigator that it was true!  But he still does not want to be baptized at all.  It’s frustrating!  Ram still wants to be baptized but is so stressed out with school right now he can't commit to a day!  EVERYONE is stressed out with school right now!  The end of the semester is approaching quickly so we are trying to plant as many seeds as we can before they head out!  We taught 20 lessons to investigators this week! 20!!! Not to mention all the less active and member lessons we had.  This area is on fire right now!! Sadly in about 3 weeks, the fire will go out as summer break comes :( boooo!  ha!

One day on campus we were teaching a lesson and the entire time there was this girl nearby watching and listening!  So of course after the lesson we go up and went to talk to her!  We ended up teaching her the Restoration right there on the spot.  She seemed really interested but then BAM starting pulling out all these Bible Bashing verses.  I was like.......oh boy. haha.  Not that we as missionaries bible bash but we of course pulled out some scriptures and bore powerful testimony!  It was grand.  She just got really confused in her own words, which usually happens every time.  We are teaching the Plan of Salvation tomorrow :)   Just reading the Bible can be confusing though and that’s why I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon and Modern Revelation!  The fullness!

Our Dance and Yoga class was a hit last week!  Our girls are getting so good :)  They get so excited to show me how their toe touches have improved!  They practice during the week!!  Good news, one of our less active members we have been working with, watched some of conference!  woot woot!  Can’t watch that and not feel the truth!  On my 10 month birthday, on Saturday, one of the YSA took us out to RUBY TUESDAY!  It was SOOO heavenly!  My meal was probably the best meal I've had in Troy!

We also had Zone Training this week!  It’s always so uplifting to gather in a group of missionaries!  I love our Zone.  The Dothan Zone is leading the entire mission right now; they even opened up 2 brand new areas this transfer!  The work is hastening here in Alabama!!  We talked a lot about the spirit and how we as missionaries use the spirit in EVERYTHING we do.  Really great meeting and then after, the 4 of us sisters went to this famous pizza place in Dothan!  It tasted exactly like Malawi’s so I was loving it!!  Felt like home!!

Dad I loved the article you sent me on the Maryland ward!  The Brimhalls are actually moving TO THAT WARD this summer!!  I showed them the article and they got really excited!!  I have such a strong testimony of member missionary work.  It truly is NECESSARY in hastening the work.  Mom I got your package!! THANK YOU!  The Easter chocolates were sooooo good!  Also good news, the PANTS FIT haha!!!  A little more, maybe a lot more, snug but they fit!  Halleluiah!

I've been on a butternut squash crave lately!  It’s my favorite thing to cook now a days!  Just thought y’all should now I'm actually learning to cook!

HEY! Tomorrow we are going to be on the Mike Amos show again except this time being interviewed by Mike Amos Senior!  Should be a good time.  He wants us there because it’s EASTER week!!  Hopefully we can bear testimony of our Savior.  I hope y’all have a wonderful Easter.  What a great time to reflect upon our Redeemer Jesus Christ.  So grateful to be His hands right now in this wonderful work.  Love it every day!!!

I LOVE YALL SO MUCH! Miss you of course!!!! Thanks for all you do!!! Pray for you daily!!! <3/ Sister Lauren Holmoe
The Dothan Zone :)

Malawis!!  This was a barbeque chicken pizza with bacon and onions!  Y'all, suddenly I like a lot of stuff on my food.  I'm like anti picky these days! 

Stirring some soup at the service event!
 The 6 of us!
Happiness because I could squeeze into these bad boys!
 #flashbackfriday.....PROM NIGHT!  Troy hosts all the high school proms so every weekend there is a prom night haha! its great
 Sister Mac and I
 Ruby Tuesday with jazzy j!
 Celebrating 10 months!
 Frisbee Night

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 43

Good morning y’all!!  Today Troy is on flash flood warnings and tornado watch. LOVELY!  Watch out, you may see the Troy sister missionaries in the next General Conference if a big tornado comes our way haha! I loved your emails and I'm still dying laughing about the Rabbit situation in our backyard! That is hilarious!  I can picture it all so perfectly!  Congrats to Joe Dredge and Taysom for marriage coming up!! Happy for them!!

It amazes me how much can happen in just ONE WEEK!  I was so grateful to have General Conference this weekend, we needed the spiritual recharge!  They call Conference weekend Super bowl Sunday for missionaries!  EVER SO TRUE!  I'll start with the bad news before I dive into all the amazing things that happened this week! Nick and Ram both dropped their baptismal commitment dates. :(  It was really stressful all week dealing with it, trying to decide if they were ready, if they felt ready, if they were keeping all the commitments, the planning and organizing of the actual baptism, interview set ups and much more! One day everything was all set and perfect for Nick but not for Ram and then the next day it would switch and Ram would be on board but not Nick.  Needless to say it was INSANE!!  Then General Conference came and both of them felt the spirit SOOO STRONG.  They both know it’s true and testified that this is the true church.  They were all excited about their baptism but when we really nailed down the fact they needed to officially stop drinking coffee and tea, THEY FLIPPED!  We were like, oh boy…we've gone over this 100 times.  Anyways, they are not willing to give a cup of coffee each morning up for the BLESSINGS OF THE RESTORATION OF THE FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL!!  To us all who experience these great blessings it’s crazy to think that one would ever put a cup of coffee before that but for them their testimony must not be strong enough yet!  I have faith that as their testimony of the Savior truly deepens they will see the necessity for living the Word of Wisdom!  I'm grateful for the whole situation because at least now they can see the seriousness of making and keeping sacred covenants!  So no baptisms for a while, but that is okay!!!

EVERY SINGLE SESSION OF CONFERENCE WAS AMAZING!  I could type for the rest of my P-day explaining all my favorite talks, quotes, songs, and feelings but I'll just point out a few :)  I lovvvved Elder Holland’s; every word he spoke was just so powerful!  I believe he could say anything on that pulpit and it would be powerful!! Of course it was awesome he gave sister missionaries a shout out in the beginning!  I loved his passion for defending our faith and as a missionary it was so motivating to keep going even through all the rejection!  There will always be rejection and the truth will always be opposed but that proves how true our message is!  I promised myself that morning that I will declare this message for the rest of my life!  I loved M. Russell Ballard’s talk on FOLLOW UP :)  I loved how he challenged everyone to get a copy of Preach my Gospel and he told how powerful it is when parents of missionaries email their kids what they are learning!  I was so grateful that my parents already do that!!  Bishop Stevenson's talk was probably my favorite as he related life to the Olympics!  How we trained before, are performing now, and will have all eternity to look back and see how we did!  This is our "4 minutes"! BOOM. SO good!!  I loved Elder Hales talk on obedience and how obedience in certain things, however hard it may seem at the moment, are preparing us for obedience in future things as well.  He gave the example of how the Savior’s obedience in Gethsemane prepared him for the obedience He would need on Calvary.  I've been studying a lot about that time in the Savior’s life in “Jesus the Christ” so it was piercing for me to hear!  I LOVED when President Monson expressed how God has given us a portion of man-kind to love.  Right now, He has trusted me to love the people of Troy and how humbling that calling is!  I loved Lawrence E. Corbridge's strong testimony of Joseph Smith as well.  The MOTAB (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) was on fire as usual!  I loved "Let us all Press on" and "Child’s Prayer".  I saw Brother Gunn in the choir which was fun!  I also saw tons of my friends from high school in the Orem institute choir!  Every time I watch conference it feels like I'm stepping back home for a few hours!  It was so awesome knowing y’all were watching the same thing as me at the same time!  The new Sunday School presidency that got it our Devin Durrant??? I was curious!  We got Chick Fil A in between the Saturday sessions so I got to use my gift card :) We watched conference at the church and it was mainly the missionaries and our investigators which was fine!

We had LOTS of great stuff happen earlier in the week as well!  One night we had a get together at "Milky Moo's" to get ice cream and then we went outside under a pavilion downtown and sang hymns and bore our testimonies!  The spirit was so strong!  It was really stormy alllll day long but that night it was perfectly clear!  We had 11 girls at our dance and yoga class last Monday which was AWESOME!!  Back in business :)  We gave one of our Thai investigators a BOM in Thai and she LOVED IT!  She was reading it to us and smiling from ear to ear!  It was so cool to follow along in English while she read in Thai!  The Book of Mormon is true in that language too :)  She then took us out to eat at the "Saga" which is like Troy's Cannon Center!  Brought back so many good memories!!  We taught Soumalia (the atheist) and HE PRAYED!!!!  It was awesome!!!! We also got Kyle to watch Conference and he was addicted!  He so knows this church is true!!  We got to teach a kid named Jack this week.  He grew up in a part member home (mormon/baptist) but after his parents got divorced he never went back to our church.  He came up to us a few weeks ago and introduced himself and FINALLY WE TAUGHT HIM!  He is like the most popular kid on Troy so he brought like 4 people to the lesson with him and then during the lesson 4 more people came!  It was the coolest thing!! People just kept gathering as we taught the Restoration!  Lots of them were very intrigued and we are going to teach them all again!!  President Eyring’s message on how young children are more close to the spirit than we realize was ever so true because Jack totally remembered primary songs and how to pray.  It was really cool to bring that spirit back to him!!

So even though there were some lows, it was all out shined by the MANY MIRACLES we had!! :)  What an awesome week and especially weekend as we got to listen to our Prophet and apostles!!!  SO BLESSED!! So grateful to be a missionary right now!  So grateful for our eternal family <3 I know that families are the treasures in Heaven and I LOVE MINE!!

Got your letter this week!  Congrats to Brinlee on getting into BYU! How FUN!!  Tell her to live it up!!!  Krystal, the Chinese investigator, is just an exchange student for a year so she goes back to China for good in May!  We had a sweeeeeeeet lesson with her on my exchange!  It went awesome!!  Question, what are the conversion stories on Mom's side of the family!?  I'd be interested to learn!!

Well gotta go email some more! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!! MISS YOU SO MUCH!!! Good luck with the rabbit and have a marvelous week!!!! :) <3/ Sister Lauren!


 The sister trainer leader's were here for a day this week to do exchanges with us!

 The Crew