Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The FINAL email!

Well, it has been the CRAZIEST past few days of my entire life!!! The last week in the mission was bittersweet.  Saying goodbye is never easy but knowing I would see my family so soon made it bearable!! I returned home with 26 other FTM missionaries so you can imagine what an exciting time it was for all of us! I'll never forget the strong spirit that was felt at the final devotional the night before we all went home.  It was incredible and President and Sister Smith bore powerful testimonies to us.  I am so grateful for them and know they will be in my life forever!! Not sure if any of us really slept that night but then morning came and it was time. Flying from Atlanta to LA to SLC with layovers in between felt like the LONGEST day of my entire life!! When we finally started descending into the Salt Lake Valley all of us missionaries were just FREAKING OUT!! We walked so fast through the airport and then were welcomed by tons of families cheering us on! I sprinted down the stairs because of all the excitement and running into my family’s arms was one of the greatest moments of my entire life! I will never forget it!!! The rest is all truly a blur haha!! Getting released was bittersweet; I never thought the name tag would have to come off :( But since then I've been able to reunite with loved ones, give my homecoming talk, and attend my Provo temple! <3  Provo is so beautiful and the cool weather makes me so happy!! Home sweet home never felt so sweet but my mission will FOREVER hold a HUGE place in my heart!  There isn't a minute that goes by without me thinking about it! It has been so great to reconnect with people from all my areas.  And now it’s time to face the future and begin NEW ADVENTURES!!!! The Lord’s work will continue on!! I'm just simply transferred to Provo for a time now :)  THANK Y’ALL SO MUCH for being faithful blog readers!!! I truly could feel your thoughts and prayers!!! I LOVE Y’ALL SO MUCH!!! God speed!!!! <3/ Lauren....aka...the former SISTER HOLMOE.

To continue following the many adventures of the former Sister Holmoe/ now LAUREN.... please add me on… 
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*potential new blog coming soon....stay tuned*


Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 73

Well I've been thinking about what I wanted to say in my final email as a full time missionary and honestly, I'm completely speechless. Haha! This has been the greatest experience and I'll never be able to put into words how I feel right now.  Yes, I'll come home and try my best to express what I've learned, experiences that I've had, and moments that changed my life but truly no one will ever be able to know the full extent except for me and my Heavenly Father and that is I guess what makes this time so special and so sacred.  I can't imagine my life without my mission.  This experience has strengthened my foundation deeper than I ever thought possible! The truths I've learned and the testimony I've gained are so embedded deep within that I'm ready to face the future ahead!  Serving a full time mission at the age of 19 was the best decision.  I have not regretted it ONE TIME. Not once.  I remember flying into Tallahassee like it was yesterday and I can relate to Alma in the 36th chapter when he says...

"Yea and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.  Yeah, and now behold, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors."

As I type this email I'm smiling from ear to ear because of the happiness I feel!!! This truly is the GREATEST WORK IN THE WORLD, THE LORDS WORK! Along with my happiness naturally flow tears full of emotion.  The love I have for the people I've met is so strong and it has been amazing to even feel a TINY SPECKLE of the love that Heavenly Father has for them.  Now of course the mission hasn't been full of rainbows and butterflies every second BUT, it has been worth EVERY hot humid day, EVERY sleepless night, EVERY disappointment, EVERY bump in the road, EVERY pound gained, EVERY tear shed.

I will miss serving my Savior in this capacity SO much.  I will miss knocking on a door and having absolutely NO clue who is going to answer.  In fact this week we had an amazing experience where we tracted into a single mom of 3.  She cried on her front porch as we read a verse from the Book of Mormon.  We went back two days later and taught the Restoration.  Tears flooded her eyes again and she's agreed that if she reads and prays and finds out it’s true, she will be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood of God.  Nothing beats that.  I will miss being given the EXACT words at the EXACT time I need them. I will miss praying SO hard with my companion for people that the Lord has trusted us with.  I will miss that feeling you get when you see a returning member walk in the chapel.  I will miss that feeling when an investigator prays for the first time. I will miss being surrounded by 250 other missionaries in the FTM singing Called to Serve.  I will miss being on the front line of this great work but I know I'll be a missionary for the rest of my life wherever I am. Henry B Eyring once said,

"When you give your heart to inviting people to come unto Christ, your heart will be changed...You will find that He keeps His promise to be one with you in your service...By helping others come unto Him, you will find that you have come unto Him yourself."

I've come closer to my Savior in the past 18 months and for that I am eternally grateful.  I have felt his constant love and support and I KNOW he has been working with me the entire time.  I know He lives and that because He lives we can live again.  We can make it home to our Heavenly Father.  We can live with families forever.  This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  Though I only have 3 days left you better believe I will testify of the Book of Mormon as much as humanly possible.  I LOVE that book.  I will treasure the sacred time I've had to study from it for two hours EVERY morning.  It is the word of God. 

To every person considering a mission, GO.  And never look back!  I know it will bless and change your life just as it has mine!!! We are ALL called to serve and though my full time service in the South is ending, my new mission begins!!! I just thank my Heavenly Father again and again for allowing me this opportunity.  I love y’all so much!!!!!!!!!!!! Farewell to the South with its thunderstorms, hurricanes, cockroaches, fire ants, revivals every weekend, fried oreos, mean dogs, no sidewalks, crazy drivers, freezing AC, football worshippers, strong hick accents and much more.......it has now become my second home!!!!! FIXIN TO SEE Y’ALL AT THE AIRPORT REAAAAL SOON! HAVE A BLESSED WEEK! ;)

<3/ Sister Holmoe

Be sure to check back next week...there will be one more post with stories from Sister Holmoe's last few days in Tallahasse as well as details from her homecoming!

Last dinner with the Mills! They are the greatest!
A less active threw me a goodbye party.  It was awesome!!!

Trunk or Treat! Happy Halloween!
Thanks for the decor mom :)
Violet and her 4 kids came!
One of our investigators Ms. Leah!!!
Love Francis! I just know she'll be baptized one day!!

Sister Winkels FIRST exchange ever and my LAST exchange ever! She's great!
Sister Witschy <3 Really special lady to me!
Final lesson with the Wilkersons!! Oh how I love them!
TRADITION! The last supper at BJ's!
Best pazookie EVER <3
ROSEMARIE!!! Gosh I miss her already!!!! :( :( :(
312 Stadium Drive. SO many memories <3
The last sabbath <3
Dodge ball

Tally 1 and 2 Zones